Rick Ryckeley has been writing columns for The Citizen Newspapers for 10 years. His light-hearted stories about The Wife, The Boy and growing up on 110 Flamingo Street have entertained readers each week, often leaving them with a chuckle or a tear in their eye. He has corralled a number of those columns and has put them together with some new thoughts in his first book, “Musings from a Cluttered Mind.” The book is available now and he will be speaking about the book and his writing at several upcoming events.
“The book answers the burning question, ‘What were you thinking when you wrote that?’,” Ryckeley said, adding that in some case he had to go back 10 or 11 years and it put a fresh perspective on things.
There are six sections in the book and 45 stories overall, touching on topics like “surviving childhood” to “pooh sticks.”
“The stories are all family oriented and safe for the family to read,” Ryckeley assures prospective readers. “And really, there are stories that are relevant to people of all ages, whether they are kids growing up and playing with the neighborhood kids, newlyweds or new parents, or just people who might also sit in a coffee shop from time to time and watch the world pass by outside the window.”
Ryckeley did not aspire to be a writer when he was younger. In fact, the first thing he wrote outside of school was a paragraph about fire safety that he read to students in his son’s first grade class almost 20 years ago. He put that piece in the paper from time to time, but didn’t think much about picking up the pen (or keyboard) again until Sept. 11, 2001.
“I wrote about 9-11 and brought it to The Citizen,” Ryckeley remembers. “(Editor and publisher) Cal (Beverly) wanted it for the front. I asked, could I maybe write something once a month for you. He said, ‘No. But you could do it once a week.’”
The rest is history. Ryckeley was introduced to writing on a deadline and although he worried about running out of things to say, he has given readers of The Citizen a popular and engaging slice of life column each week ever since.
One question that readers often ask Ryckeley is ‘Is everything in your stories true?’ The author swears it is.
“I swear, I don’t make it up,” Ryckeley said, although he admitted that there may be a touch of coloring the past and present when this author remarked that the “Rick” in the columns has become something of a character.
Ryckeley lived in Fayette County for 20 years before moving to Senoia. He has been a firefighter for 25 years and will eventually publish a novel about firefighting. The first goal is to release the books of his collected “musings” something a number of his readers have clamored for.
“It had been suggested to me many times and I eventually listened,” Ryckeley said. The process of getting the words to the published page has been a long one, but one he feels is well worth it. “Musings from a Cluttered Mind” is published by ThomasMax and they have walked Ryckeley through the process of editing, layout and getting the cover completed.
Ryckeley heaps praise on his family for being a part of his life and, in turn, the columns. Their encouragement certainly sustained him through the writing and editing process.
A portion of the proceeds from the book sales will go to The Go Two Guys charitable branch. The Go Two Guys was a business idea generated by Ryckeley and his wife. Local, off duty firefighters help others complete their “honey dos” around the house. The business donates two percent of all income on a yearly basis to local injury and fire prevention efforts.
“Musings from a Cluttered Mind” can be purchased at www.rickryckeley.net, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and on the Nook or Kindle. It will also be available at Omega Books. He will speak at the Peachtree City Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. Copies will be sold and autographed during his presentation at the Peachtree City Library. For more information on library programs, check the web site at www.peachtree-city.org/library, or contact the Friends of the Peachtree City Library at firstname.lastname@example.org.