Billy Ray Chitwood
Being an Appalachian lad I ate quite a lot of emotional soup and have been trying for all the years to digest it. I've taken the easy and the difficult routes to get at this point in life, a point not so different from that confused kid who joined the US Navy to escape the fragmented uncertainty of youth. All the mobility of childhood, all the harshness that comes with a broken and misplaced family, all the ensuing mistakes and successes, all have guided me to this place in time and space.
It is said that in the twilight years one reverts back to youth. For me, my youth never left me. It is still there, with the same titillating mind games and all the confounding realities. The tone here might speak of regret, remorse, sadness, and well it should. But there have been so many blessings and reprieves from loneliness. There is here in the end a good and patient wife. There are now grown children and grandchildren who make me joyous and proud. There is happiness in my life, so...where is the rub?
The 'rub' is in my being, in those countless moments of uncertain youth and adulthood, in the 'angry God' pronouncements of a Southern Baptist preacher, in all the myriad ways I shall never know. The 'rub' is in my nature, the wanderlust and the inner aches I cannot soothe. It is simply part of who I am. In the simple plots of my books, in the characters developed, I am allowed another journey in this life, a chance to find some parts of me that have been outside my awareness. I am allowed to find my God and a faith to carry me to the other side of existence.
My writing is my therapy. My existence and my meaning are there in the lines and between the lines I write. It is there where I can see myself most clearly, and there is much that displeases me, beguiles me, and pleasures me. Outside my windows I can see God's great work and His eternity in the beauty that are the rolling hills of the Kentucky countryside..
So I returned first to Tennessee where it all began for me...then on to Lincoln's land of Kentucky. Perhaps it is the hand of God that guides me across this Earth's great lands. From the incredible beauty of The Sea of Cortez, the desert elegance of Arizona, the magnetic lure of Calfornia, and all my stops along the way, surely He leads me toward some awesome purpose and truth.