Teach Them Young?

9.16.21

Teach Them Young

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

I’m forty-seven years old but, as of two years ago, I am the father of a six-year-old. My wife, his mother, is way more modern and liberal than my own children’s’ mothers, so I’m learning a new form of parenting very different from the style I chose with my own children. I guess you could say my style was an off shoot of the one used to raise me by my own parents. Was it the right way? Is there a “right” way?

Example: When I was a child, I didn’t dare ask how much things cost, and I sure never asked either of my parents how much money they earned in their paychecks. Keep in mind that I grew up dirt poor in the bustling burg of Greenville, Tx and the small-town way of life was to comply with the wishes of your parents and grandparents or get the fire slapped out of you for defiance! For sure, we never got into the affairs of the adults in our families, especially when it came to finances. No sir, you made that can of SpaghettiOs last all week and you liked it! I’m exaggerating, but not by much. My last name wasn’t synonymous with the up and comers who lived in (insert the name of any random wealthy, historical neighborhood here).

Now, with my newest stepson, he is all up in the things that I knew nothing about as a child. It doesn’t matter what he asks because his mother chooses to raise him as a human being rather than a free form of minor labor or a prisoner who learns the hard way only to speak when spoken to. The kid is six years old and has never had a spanking. Sure, I know, at least in the southern United States, it’s considered to be the “new” form of parenting if you don’t scar your child for life with minor acts of violence toward them, but is it? My wife is thirty years old and has never had a spanking in her life! She turned out to be a very successful woman with two college degrees and is a main figure in a successful corporation. I got smacked around every time I turned the corner when I was growing up and I’ve had troubles with alcoholism, substance abuse, and have four divorces under my belt. Is there further research to be done in this field? I believe so!

An addendum to the above paragraph: it’s also very easy to come up with these scary stories of mine as a horror author because they are continuously playing out in my head twenty-four hours a day. Psychiatrists: feel free to contact me everywhere on social media @howlgrowlsnarl to study my brain. I’m up for anything!

Anyway, back to the beginning of my story. I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty details of my stepson’s biological father, but let’s just say he was raised differently than both myself and my wife combined. He comes from a very wealthy family and was raised by a Nanny. I’m sure this is where my stepson gets this part of his personality. I’m certain, in their neck of the cleared out, highly manicured woods, it’s no big deal to know how much money is in Mom’s purse or how much the average Neiman Marcus credit card bill is. Is that even still a thing? Neiman Marcus, I mean? I personally always hated going there with my mother (which she could only afford to go once in a blue moon) because of all the employees by the front door spraying you with perfume like you were a cockroach who escaped from the glue trap!

I’m not entirely sure that there is a right or wrong way to raise a child. Everyone from all different walks of life choose to do it in their own way. Now, if any of my own children (who are well into adulthood and have NEVER read a single thing I’ve written) were to read this, they’d tell you that they wished I’d taken this approach while they were still young. I, as a young father, was heavy into corporal punishment because that’s the way my father was with me, and so was my grandfather, and so was my school…

You see where I’m going with this? Subtract a couple of decades from society and throw yourself into a small-town frame of mind, and you’ll know exactly what they mean by “spare the rod, spoil the child”! Seriously, me and all my friends used to get beat like a drum set in front of Alex Van Halen! Granted, it toughened us up, but not everyone is meant to go into the military to fight wars or become amateur hockey players!

Then again, I’m not so sure that time has anything at all to do with it. The research has been done and we, as a society, all have access to the same books and they same internet sites…but, when I go to smaller towns than Dallas, I still see parents physically punishing their children in public places. To be honest, it angers me, and I normally want to walk over and perform the same maneuvers on the parent dishing out the beating…but what kind of society would be to punish violent people with violence? Oh yeah, never mind. We’d be humans! It’s sort of our thing.

Is it something that is more prone to happen in the rural areas of this country rather than the larger cities? Why is that? Raising? A difference in education? Family Tradition?

I know this is a bit of a strange request but, here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! What is your opinion on physical punishment when it comes to raising your children? When it came to your own kids, were you a spanker, a time out-er, or a grounder? Even better, what were your parents like regarding punishment and how much did that influence your own parenting style? Feel free to comment below and fill us in! We won’t judge you; we just want to compare notes. Believe it or not, this is actually one of our interview questions!

See and hear more at http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com

Where Were You?

9.13.21

Where Were You?

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

I remember it as though it were yesterday but, in fact, it’s officially been twenty years! Back in my military days, I was one of those soldiers who was bold enough to say aloud on several occasions that no other power in the world has the gumption to attack us on our own soil. A little over a year after I had taken off that uniform, the world proved me wrong.

I was working as a site team leader for a telecommunications company called Nortel Networks. Some of you may remember them because their name was plastered all over the boards at just about every professional hockey game that came on television! They were rocking the scene for a while but then somehow, someway folded like a cheap card table. I’d love to know the details someday but it’s probably no different that any other large, successful company who went the way of the dinosaurs. Someone was double dipping, and it eroded the company from the inside. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

I was on the phone with Fed Ex about getting some tools shipped to my upcoming job site in Boston when the man on the other end of the phone told me it might be a while with all the nonsense going on in New York City. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I inquired. He stated that some idiot had accidentally flown a plane into one of the World Trade Center buildings. I agreed with the idiot part, ended the phone call, and headed to my living room to see what all the fuss was about on television.

Just as I flipped on the television, the second plane smashed into the other tower! LIVE! On my television. America was officially under attack and my jaw hit the floor. I ran as quickly as I could, crying all the way, to inform my (now ex) wife of what was going on and that she needed to see this with her own eyes. She looked at me as though I was stupid and rolled over in bed. Was I overreacting? The country I had so recently volunteered to fight for was getting a black eye. I was terrorized!

I jumped into my car and headed to the school where my children attended. Now, some of you may disagree with this decision but hear me out. After all, I was only twenty-seven years old when this whole thing went down and obviously not playing with a full deck. I wanted to take my young kids out of school so that they could come home and watch these events unfold before their very eyes. At some point in their lives, a child or a grandchild was going to ask then what they remember about the events of September 11th, 2001, and I wanted them to be able to explain that they saw it all. They didn’t just read it from some damned history book. They saw it all. In hindsight, I’m fortunate that they didn’t care what was going on and immediately went to their room to play, happy to be home rather than in school.

Then…the buildings began to fall. People were running for their lives in any direction they could, and smoke and debris filled the streets of Manhattan. I’d officially seen enough. I drove to my nearest Army recruiter’s office and told them I wanted back in. Now. I knew at some point that we would be retaliating for this attack, and I wanted to be directly involved. Both fortunately and unfortunately, my knees prevented my re-entry and a ton of other young Americans beat me to the punch. In the grand scheme of things, I eventually stayed home and helped raise my children to the best of my abilities rather than die in the sand in Afghanistan at some point over the next twenty years. I’m sure they appreciate it much more.

In the days that followed, I recall no planes in the sky and it brought on a bit of weirdness since we lived right in the flight path of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. I remember the world coming together to lend a hand to our American wounded pride and, for a brief moment in time, it didn’t matter who you were, where you came from, how much money you had, or what color your skin was. My god, how I wish that feeling had lasted.

Again, I made a statement out loud and again the world proved me wrong. I said that this could very well be the turning point in the history of the world where we would all come together regardless of wealth and race and fight for the common good. I was wrong. The last twenty years since the coming together of everyone after 9/11 not only faded into obscurity, but it intensified. I truly believe this country is more divided than it’s ever been, apart from the civil war, and it saddens me more deeply than a dozen 9/11 attacks combined. It’s my personal opinion, of course, and I’m totally entitled to it, the same as you’re entitled to yours.

The only thing I’ve really learned from all of this is to stop making predictive statements about the state of our world out loud. Every single time, it seems as though the world is out to prove me wrong. Lesson learned. I’ll just keep it all to myself! In the last twenty years, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to New York City at least fifty times. Three of those times have been on a 9/11 anniversary. The world may have forgotten, but New Yorkers haven’t. Guaranteed. I invite you to go and see it with your own eyes.

Where were you and what were you doing on the day our American world stopped turning? Were you scared? Angry? Do seeing the events unfold again on television year after year still upset you in the same way it did when those towers fell, or have you simply gotten used to it all with the ever-unfolding events from the last handful of years? Now, I’m not speaking from a political standpoint, so I don’t really want any comments involving that, but I want to know about how you feel as a human being. A life force on this planet dealing with the horrors of hate. Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know. We also want you to know that we do these projects as a labor of love. We love what we do, and we love who we’re doing it for. We love YOU. After all, there aren’t enough falling towers and hatred to overthrow the power of love.

See and hear more at http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com

Happy Birthday Zoe!!!

At the stroke of midnight on 9/11/21, my novella Starving Zoe will be exactly one year old. This little misunderstood gem has brought me worldwide recognition and I love every single page of her greatness. Are you a Zoe fan? If so, I have a surprise for you! Click on the following link at midnight…

https://cderickmiller.com/?page_id=6788

That Old Familiar Feeling

9.9.21

“That Old Familiar Feeling”

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

There are some of you who only know me through what you’ve read here on Your Stories on Video from my weekly blogs. Yes, I spend my time conducting interviews and composing scripts for the narrator, but that’s nothing compared to how my writing career began. It’s not even in the same ballpark. Heck, it’s not even the same sport or taking place on the same planet! As with everything in our world, there is a flip side.

Let’s go back to the beginning…

It was pointed out to me in middle school that I had a gift for writing. When asked if I would lend my talents to the school newspaper, I politely declined. It was the mid 80’s, you see, and the only people who did things like that were nerds. I had a cool mullet and a closet full of rock and roll t shirts. Let’s not forget the faded denim jacket. Writing for a newspaper would’ve stripped me of my cool points and I still had a few years to go before graduation. I needed all the help I could get.

There are some who say my creative writing continued into high school, but I don’t remember any of it. Old friends who’ve contacted me since I decided to pour everything I had into my life as a wordsmith have reminded me I helped them pass English on more than one occasion. I’ll just have to take their word for it because those memories have obviously been overwritten by 80’s hair band lyrics or something else I deemed useful. I honestly don’t recall putting pen to paper creatively during those years unless it was to make up a dirty limerick about one of my classroom buddies. Remember, writers are nerds, and I wasn’t.

It was the year 2002 when I was handed a copy of a book titled “The Language of Fear” by Del James. I’d been searching for this novel for quite a while, but the internet was in its infancy stage, and I don’t believe Amazon was a thing. If it was, I wasn’t worthy of a credit card back then, so it didn’t matter. I read that book in one sitting, woke up the following morning, and wrote my first short story. It had begun, and it was time to come to grips with the fact I was probably a nerd.

The writing continued…

To skip ahead a bit, I was first published in a Dallas goth culture magazine in 2007. Many years and novels later, I’ve been featured in the Splatterpunk Anthology of the Year and my name is known in certain circles all over the world. Luckily, over the last decade or so, the term ‘nerd’ has been associated with ultimate acceptance. I don’t know whether to blame the mainstream success of Star Wars or Marvel, but nerds are the new cool kids. I don’t believe anyone knows how to work on cars anymore, grows mullets, or smokes cigarettes in high school bathrooms. Society considers this to be a good thing, I guess. Too bad the music is horrible!

Long story short (pun may or may not be intended), I write just as much fiction as I do fact, and I prefer the darker parts of that genre. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when I’m not pecking away on the scripts to the movies of your lives, I’m coming up with all kinds of monster stories about ghosts, demons, skin walkers, and werewolves. Some people think I’m quite good at it, too!

So today, I sit in my writing chair for the first time in exactly a year to pen a story I won’t go into too much detail about. I promised my loyal followers I’d reveal the synopsis and prologue on my fiction writing website this coming weekend and a know a few of them follow this blog as well. Let’s just say it’s not, well…normal. It’s dark and creepy and it’ll take me places that I absolutely love to go. To tell the truth, it feels a bit strange to be visiting some of my old characters again.

When I am in this chair, I am the ultimate authority. I am all powerful. Not to put too much of a sacrilegious spin on it, but I am god to the characters I’ve created. I decide whether they live or die. I own every aspect of their world and can do as I please. I make the rules and I can break them midway through the story if I like. It all belongs to me. This is not so much of a luxury when I’m writing about a client’s life for their on camera interviews. It’s night and day. The Batman syndrome of all chosen careers. The life of a fiction writer.

Even though it’s been a year since I’ve pressed the keys in a more fictional sense, I can feel that old familiar mindset sneaking up on me again, as though it never left. I tried with all my might for months to ignore it, but there it sat in waiting, just inside the mirror or around the corner. No matter how much we try to tip toe around it or avoid it altogether, we can’t deny who we truly are. I have always been a writer since the seventh grade and possibly longer. No matter how long I grew my hair or how loud I listened to my music, I was still a writer in waiting. Today, no matter how long it’s been since I typed the words “The End” on my previous work, I am still a writer. It’s taken decades, but I’ve finally come to grips with who I am. It actually feels kind of good.

Who are you? No, I don’t mean your name or where you come from. Who are you really? Besides being someone’s son or daughter, or someone’s parent or grandparent, who are you deep down inside? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Did you ever have the opportunity to follow that dream you kept inside or is it still in there, locked away, waiting for the exact moment to break free and show the whole world your full potential? Did it ever make you famous or was it something you did for your own personal satisfaction? The movie of your life cannot be made without revealing the deepest parts of who you are. We’re waiting for you to open that door, invite us in, and let us peruse the wares of your true personality.

Can’t you hear us knocking?

See and hear more at http://www.yourstoriesonvideo.com

Labor?

9.6.21

Labor?

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

I’ve never really bothered to search out the origins of Labor Day and I don’t feel like learning right this second. Sure, I could reach out to my trusty Google device and ask, but it doesn’t matter. I get a day off from the office. That’s good enough for me!

My only plan for this weekend was to beat my all-time cycling record. Up until now, the most I’ve ever ridden in a single day is twenty-five miles and I’m determined to make it to thirty! I set off early Saturday morning to do exactly that. Was I successful?

Absolutely not, and it wasn’t from a lack of trying. Right about my twenty-mile mark, I noticed it was getting harder and harder to pedal my big butt down the old Southern Pacific trail just outside of Dallas. Then, I looked and realized I had a flat. My bike adventure for the weekend was officially over. I was disappointed in my failure, my wife wasn’t quite awake yet for a rescue, and I had no idea where I was! Happy Saturday.

I eventually got the family to pick me up, took the bike by the repair shop, grabbed some food, and took a well-deserved nap. It just wouldn’t go away, though. I thought about it nonstop all afternoon. I failed myself in reaching my goal. It wasn’t my fault, but I still failed. I fought internally to keep myself from going outside and mounting up to get my additional ten miles in. Still, in my head, that didn’t count. I didn’t do it all at once, so it wasn’t really the thirty miles I was looking for. I stayed irritated for the rest of the day.

Deep down, I knew what I was going to do to solve my conundrum.

I awoke with the sun on Sunday morning and hit that same trial again. I rode harder and faster than I did the day before until I had no energy left to give. I was only at the twenty-five-mile mark and circling the drain when it came to stamina and drive, but I’ll be damned if I was going to go home without hitting my goal. I did what any other modern, red-blooded American would do at a time like this.

No, I didn’t take steroids. Well, not really. I pulled out my handy, dandy cell phone and found that there was a Smoothie King a quarter of a mile from my location. I fueled up on a frigid Strawberry Peanut Power Plus and took off toward my goal yet again. You can’t keep a good man with a pocket-sized search engine down!

When I pulled into my driveway, spent, and covered in sweat, and checked my watch, I had ridden thirty-three miles exactly. Not only did I meet the goal I had set for myself before the holiday weekend began, but I exceeded it by three additional miles! I celebrated in the only way my screeching body allowed by drifting off to sleep again at lunchtime. I was spent. Still, I did it.

Now, for the best question of all. Why did I do it? That’s an easy answer. To prove to myself that I could. Not anyone else, just me. Next question. Will I try to beat it? Answer: Never in a million years. It’s really pointless to push your body that hard for three straight hours and all the fun is taken out of it by the time you hit mile ten. Sure, I’m in it to win it, but I like to have fun as well. Three nonstop hours of cycling in the Texas heat is not my idea of fun. That’s what a three-day weekend is all about, isn’t it? Taking some time off from the weekday nine to five and letting it all hang out. I mean, having a good time. Not my tongue.

Final question: will I spend the last day of my three-day weekend pointlessly cycling around the big city of Dallas? Absolutely not. Instead, I’m going to Oklahoma where I can kayak a rushing river with my family. Nope, no working out on my last day off. Not at all.

Pushing myself to the limits of my physical abilities has recently become an obsession. I’m a 47-year-old man who refuses to look like one. I want to get in good shape and stay there for the duration of my life. It’s less of an obsession and more of an addiction. When I’m not doing it, it’s all I can think about. What’s so bad about that? I don’t drink much. I don’t smoke. I don’t do illegal drugs. Don’t we all have to be addicted to something in this crazy world?

I can think of much worse things to be addicted to than working out!

What is that one thing or activity you absolutely can’t live without? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Now, you don’t have to tell on yourself if it’s something you wouldn’t want anyone to know, but I’m talking about things in the public eye. Are you a gym fanatic, or a rollercoaster fiend? Do you go to the movies more than once a week or do your hands not feel quite right unless there is a guitar in them? Is this something you’ve always hidden from your friends and family or is it a defining activity you’re known for?

If you’re anything like me, there are too many of these activities to count…and that’s not a bad thing.

Besides, I’m determined to have my hometown’s most interesting headstone. Well, in about forty more years anyway…