Scary? Yeah, maybe a little.
What the hell am I talking about?
Here it is. After a twenty year law enforcement career, I am retiring to pursue my lifelong dream. Not to be a writer. I am a writer (and so are you if write). But to be a full-time author.
You hear the word 'retirement,' and you think, "Ah, so what then? No risk there. He's got a pension." Well, you're right there, and wrong. I do have a pension. I can draw on it when I turn 50 (with a minor penalty, 53 without). I'll be 45 in August. So yeah, this is a little bit of a leap of faith on the financial front. About five years worth of one (or eight, I suppose).
More than that, though, it's a leap of faith on the dream front. I've been writing a lot since 2006, at least for a guy working a full time job in a field that is very demanding of my time. But the writing has always been the sideline to my main career, at least in the eyes of most. My wife always knew who and what I am at my core -- a writer -- but I think most people thought of me as a cop who did some writing on the side. For the most part, they were right. I earned my living as a cop. I love my community, my department, and the courageous men and women I was lucky enough to serve alongside.
But I've always been a writer at heart.
Most people I worked with weren't aware that I cracked the top 10 in police procedural writers on Amazon. I even held the number 1 slot for a while. Because I was a cop who wrote and not a writer who used to be a cop, that accomplishment seemed slightly muted compared to what I thought it would be. That's because law enforcement was my number one gig.
And it should be. Much like a doctor at the operating room table, a career in law enforcement requires you pay attention. I think everyone can agree to that. And when you're in a command role, you have to pay attention to more things.
But in less than two weeks, I won't be in law enforcement anymore. I am retiring. So now all of that focus will be on my writing career. I am pursuing my dream with the full support of my wife (and, truth be told, the financial support of my wife).
I think some people hold onto their dreams without truly going after them for a lot of different reasons. Maybe they really don't have the time to try. Maybe the dream is unrealistic. Maybe they don't really want the dream but like to be able to say they do. But I think a big reason some people don't truly go after their dream is because if you never go after the dream and risk failing at it, then you can always hang onto that dream. If you go for it and fail, or discover it isn't what you thought it was going to be, or any other form of letdown or failure, then you can't have that dream any longer.
My wife is a source of a lot of very wise, simple, profound statements. Recently, she channeled an old Animals song (or a newer Bon Jovi one) without knowing it when she said, "It's your life. You have to live it." Those simple words reminded me that life is short, and if we never pursue our dreams, for whatever reason, then we never know. I'd rather fail than regret. (Truth be told, though, I'd rather succeed than fail!).
I'm dedicating this blog to that journey, wherever it may take me. I'm hoping you'll come along for the ride. I welcome your comments, thoughts, and questions. Like I said, I'm all in when it comes to living my dream. Or as a particularly gifted songwriter once wrote, I am going to chase this dream "with all the madness in my soul."
Frank Scalise (aka Zafiro)
P.S. Thank you to the Spokane Police Department for giving me twenty years of a life worth living.
P.P.S. Thank you to my wife, Kristi, for giving me all the support a man could ask for, all the love a man could ever need, and for giving me the rest of my life worth living. I love you with all the madness in my soul.