I’ve met Bob Mayer.
Met him at the 2008 Pikes Peak Writers Conference (PPWC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’d read a couple of his Area 51 novels. Liked them. So, I thought, here’s a pretty cool guy…why not go meet him and see what he’s like. I liked how he didn’t ignore all the security measures in secure settings and write his characters out of sticky situations by just changing the scene (and instead had to show some crafty maneuvering around said security systems, not ignoring that there are measures to detect your every move and high security places would have them!). Anyway, I thought I’d introduce myself to him.
Yeaaah, about that….
Bob has said in posts that he’s become a bit more outgoing, more personable since he’s been out in the wild, but when I first met him, well…not so much. I remember when I first introduced myself to him at a PPWC mixer years ago and I found myself pulling my own teeth just to get him to talk. After a while I was answering my own questions…and it took me a couple of sentences to realize…well, he’d long since disappeared…
It was like he’d wielded some arcane form of Ninja Kung-fu sfumare on me.
To this day, I don’t know how he’d done that.
So…I was reading one of his blog posts last weekend, his “Traits of Successful Writers II,” and I realized I just had to share about Bob…as The Terminator. In this post he says words to the effect that the best thing about writers’ groups is not the actual writing stuff…but the different characters—the actual people, the writers—in the writer’s group. Trying to figure out their motivations…why they “act the way they do.”
OMG. Flashback…PPWC 2008.
You see, Bob is an extremely observant fellow. A former Green Beret (the big white words on this webpage say it all…). He’s always watching…observing. I say this not because I know Bob any kind of “well,” but because I’d actually caught him doing so one night at the PPWC hotel’s bar. I was a few feet away from him, hidden by and blending in with the indigenous human foliage. As I scanned the room, I spotted Bob. By himself. And what Bob was doing was…
Taking in the lay of the land.
I watched as he took it all in…the people, the terrain, and (I assumed) who was a threat…who he could take…how he could take ’em…even his own method of extraction. I wondered what manner of Special Forces (SF) witchery he had concealed upon his person…you know, besides his hands, feet, elbows, and head. I was sure in a pinch he could use his ear lobes in ways that would make grown men cry…or perhaps a better way of stating this is that Bob would have men use their own ear lobes in ways that would make them cry….
Anyway, as I carried on my insipid, casual conversation…throwing out well-placed laughter here and there…I observed Bob. He seemed to flit in and out of existence (dang it, how does he do that?).
He was laser-like in his gaze. I imagined his mind…his physical vision…was something very much like the Terminator Vision, above…
MALE HT: 510
INEBRIATED…HITTING ON UNINTERESTED HOT AGENT
Weapon Selection: LEFT PINKY
Weapon Employment: MAXIMUM DAMAGE/EMBARRASSMENT
Yeah, that’s how I see Bob. As the Terminator. When he looks at you he’s not really looking at you.
He’s looking through you.
Into your soul.
And it hurts.
He knows how you move…what your beliefs are…which foot you use to step forward with…what your dominant hand is…and what you had for breakfast…three nights ago…yeah, that’s right…nights. He knew you ate your breakfast for dinner that night. All by observing how you hold yourself, how you behave in public, hold your drink, your mannerisms. The lies you’re telling agents and editors…your friends (you bastard!).
Special Forces training.
Ninja Kung-fu sfumare training.
So, when I read that blog post, those—and similar passages—where he always asks different questions than your average non-Green Beret (like, “There’s what they are saying and there is what they are meaning.“), it brought me back to that dark, crowded bar. To observing the silent, restrained “Quiet Professional” (because, make no mistake about it, however Bob described himself to the public, to the unlucky target-of-opportunity who tries to strike up a conversation with him…at least at that point in his life…Bob was still wound up in his SF mode from what I observed…) as he continued to stalk the jungles of his past….
He was frigging sizing up everybody…the layout of the bar…and why those who built the bar built it the way they did…and what were (and are) their thoughts on the current political climate….
I returned to my conversation. Tossed out (I thought) a rather well-placed laugh.
When I next looked over to Bob—
He was looking directly at me.
Eyes laser-like. Full of knowing.
He took a sip from his drink.
I peed my pants.
He fricking knew everything about me—I damned-well felt my soul being downloaded into him.
What does that feel like?
Like your guts are being sucked out through your you-know-what. And the accompanying vacuum is like a black hole in your colon.
He knew I’d been eying him.
Knew I thought I knew what he was doing….
I checked myself. Yup, still peeing my pants.
Felt Number 2 close at hand.
Gone. He was gone.
Had he ever really been there?
I saw him—or thought I did—a couple times after that…but every time I blinked, he was no longer there. Curiously, during the rest of the conference I had the strangest urge to tug at my earlobes, come to my feet, and belt out a few choruses of Zip-e-de-do-da! in the middle of conference sessions.
More SF Ninja mind tricks?
I may never know.
Anyway, I like how Bob thinks. His blog posts go counter to traditional thinking (pun intended). He analyzes everything.
Motivations. Outcomes. Potentials. Probabilities. Blueprints.
He is the very definition of Special Forces: unconventional.
He is someone to listen to. Learn from.
But just realize that whatever you think you’re observing about Bob…is only part of the picture…if it’s even there at all.
He’s a master at this stuff. A master at obfuscation.
A master of unconventional writefare.
And he has his Terminator Vision set on you.
Fine Print: Mr. Mayer may surely be analyzing why I wrote this. Or not. In any event, I apologize, Mr. Mayer, for the current state of my mind and whatever you unearth in there. This post was written purely for the story and nothing else (it’s always about the story with me…even if it embarrasses me). No disrespect is intended to Mr. Mayer’s Green Beret background or himself as a person—I have nothing but respect for this guy and all his efforts in the publishing industry. He’s unconventional and forward thinking. We need more of this in many areas of life and I applaud him. Thank you, Mr. Mayer, for all you’ve done and continue to do…and thanks for not showing up behind me at my desk (yes, I just checked six…) after having posted this…
…at least I don’t think you’re that slightly different-looking part to my wallpaper I’ve never noticed before behind me and why the hell are my earlobes so damned itchy….
Bob Mayer’s Write on the River site: https://writeitforward.wordpress.com/
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