Darkness, Light, and Shadows

Darkness, Light, and Shadows

By BR Chitwood


The visits from ‘Darkness, Lights, and Shadows’ have been often over the spread of my life, my cornbread-loving, hog-slopping, ‘hay-behind-the-ear’ yokel life, or, at least, assumed so…

What am I trying to convey here? (This question comes up quite often as I poke fingers at these typing keys!)

Divorce, broken family, and some terror insanity took me from those beautiful green hills of Tennessee, into the US Navy, and, after discharge, on the ‘GI Bill’ into the college world of learning. Those kids in the classrooms with the minds that worked orderly had some fun with the strange words and phrases that came from my countrified mind…and, shucks, I laughed right along with the professors and the kids…hey, they were learning the difference between ‘citified’ and ‘countrified’.

There came later on the ‘neon world’, the bars, restaurants, and pretty ladies, marriages, divorces, and further painful learning. I made it to the corporate world of sales and management, stayed for years. With a talent agency, I did TV commercials, some film and stage acting…my world, the ‘oyster’ – and I enjoyed every morsel…

During the ‘hayseed years’ of my past, I had enjoyed singing, writing, poetry, along with my love for cowboy movies. Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tim Holt were some of my favorites until I went to the movie thrillers and romantic broken hearts that had to be put back together.

I’m married to a wonderful lady now for many years, and we share the love of our kids, and the ‘grands’! I have written over twenty novels, including two bios, 500 blog posts, poetry, many short stories and Flash Fiction pieces, lots of Poetry, and many songs…AND, I’m a lousy self-publisher and have done a poor job in my marketing of materials.

The main thing is, I’m old now, and I don’t want to be old… I want to do it all over again, minus those early years of gloom and uncertainty…

So, if anyone has a ‘magic pill’ or ‘time tunnel’ and you are a gracious, giving person… Okay, ‘local yokel’!  You have gone past your ‘nap time’.

BR Chitwood – May 12, 2022

If interested, the reader can find almost everything I have written at my Website below! Please visit!






(WITH SYNOPSES & BUY SITES FOR ALL 20 BOOKS.) https://www.brchitwood.com

The Earth Speaks

Author's Mission

The Earth Speaks

By BR Chitwood


Can senseless stupidity be part of my DNA?

This goes beyond anything sensible and sane. How can a grown man be this careless and inane?

AND, where is your water, ‘Senseless Stupid Person’?

Did you not see before setting out the billowing dull yellowish clouds forming in the Southeast, with the wind now swirling the dust all around you?

You dumb imbecilic bastard!

Did you finish the story you were writing in your mind?

Tell me, you squeaky old bastard, have all your marbles been used? Are you so addled as not to see the arrogance of your brain? The utter disregard for some sense of reason? The sky is up there and all around you! Can your senses be in such disregard? Can you not see what is happening around you?

Ah, now you think of the car! Where you parked it…

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So, Now What?

So, Now What?

BR Chitwood


Another move!

Sold our beautiful South Mountain Retreat – could not turn down the price…yeah, I know, money is not everything! Couple it, however, with home prices ‘through the roof’, a body getting older and less functional with each passing day plus a handsome payoff and a temporary move-in with our good and wise daughter, my wife doing all the work (I know, I know! I’m worthless!) and me sitting sprawled on my ‘lift chair’ already typing this short post… A lovely couple, Blake and Claudia along with their beautiful Lab, Sami, are the new owners – Blake, a Clinical Psychologist and, Claudia, a Registered Nurse – beautiful people from the far west.

Aging of course comes with strange catalysts, like, a sudden fall or short memory recall…just laying the foundation like it is, the result of a couple of falls, some aches and pains.  I can still walk and get around, have family who cater to my needs – and, wow, I use this to the greatest ‘poor me’ extent possible. Actually, the place I feel still secure within myself, still viable in my writing, is when I open this laptop gadget and start my pecking.

You can take this to the bank: I shall know when my words become too mundane and without any solid penmanship…maybe this short post will give one pause as to the viability of my writing…,

  That is when I will ‘rock you’ with a scintillating short story, flash fiction, and/or poetry. Writing has been such a strong force for so many years, it would be sacrilege not to obey its enticements.

So, no earth-shattering piece here, just some facts of my aging life for my small cadre of readers and writers.

 My wife did all the work, so why am I so damned tired?

Just saying!


BR Chitwood – May 9, 2022

Go to Word Press for synopses of my twenty books, over 400 blog posts, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry.


On the Road Again

On the Road Again

BR Chitwood

*My great grandson, Owen, welcomes you to my post…


Since I’ve spent a large portion of my life ‘on the road’ in either a work capacity or living in a new city or town, it came to me that it might interest some folks about possibilities of Wanderlust, Shifting Thoughts, and/or simply the Nature of the Beast…and, perhaps obvious to some ‘the Nature of the Beast’ scenario is perhaps the most accurate among the short list of selections – but, all of them play a part in this Romantic’s tale.

Well, sure, it’s a bit late for a psychiatrist’s visit, and, the truth is, much of my life I’ve thought those ladies and gentlemen with the plush offices and comfortable chairs and sofas were the people who needed some directional assistance themselves… Now, I mean no disrespect to these ‘head-working’ people. We all have to be somewhere. The bottom-line, I figured that it was I who needed to do the mind-work to figure me out, and it has come slowly, surely, and with some degree of stimulants (like alcohol, depressive thoughts, lonely bars, and cheap motels.

There are a lot of boys and girls growing up in the southern part of our country – that is, states like Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, where some of our youth more or less get mixed signals in their growing up, although I’m suspecting Tennessee and those beautiful Appalachian hills might claim all the marbles for this shortcoming– I’m so-stating this because this is where my non-glorious life began, complete with trauma, dirt roads, parental arguments and fighting, divorce, state-run schools, and a substantial overload on one’s psyche and intellect…sufficient without further glamorous etching.

Yes, I know each of us came from somewhere and had story-book childhoods, loving parents, good education, and better than fair looks down the roads they would take in growing into whatever it was they were to be. As it would turn out, with all that swirling debris in my mind and soul, I made that long trip with some nice successes along the way, the best of which was my fourth wife, Julie Anne – a true treasure of love and sacrifice (I come with sacrifices! Just, saying!)

Julie Anne has been my reader and editor of twenty novels plus near 400 blog posts and lots of poetry. Some of the novels are taken from crimes that have not been solved to this day, on a shelf of ‘unsolved cases’ in a police station in Phoenix, Arizona and/or Bisbee, Arizona. If I must say, the writing is good and should be read by every reader: for enjoyment, of course, but to catch a few typos and/or errata along the way… There are a couple of books that tell a bit of my personal story, even some film bits of which I was a part, hopefully to make the reader buy a book – my book, that is!

I’m still writing while the clock ticks away the time and I figure to keep typing away for some years yet. At the end of this is the address of my Web site, where all my books, with synopses, some 5-star reviews, and an e-mail for anyone who would like to correspond with me.

I’m too old to be embarrassed by my words in this blog post. Thank you for reading…

BR Chitwood


Always With Love

Always With Love

BR Chitwood


It is difficult to imagine where I would be in this life without the woman in the picture above, my wife, assuming my existence in this life at this point in time.

Sure, it is just another sentimental prosing of a hopeless ‘Romantic’, but this lady, Julie Anne, is all the trumpeting I’m doing here, and, more. She has been with me through the writing of twenty books in different genres, hundreds of blog posts, short stories, and flash fiction, reading it all, offering helpful comments along with her praise…in the meantime, preparing our meals, caring for our pets, and still managing to be a mother to our many children.

My immersion in the writing brings at times outbursts and childish behavior…she simply smiles gently and wanders off to tackle other chores.

Now, near the final years of aging, I still do some writing. Julie Anne does a lot with her genealogy efforts, communicating with people from all over the globe…Genealogy fascinates her, and her glee in finding new people who belong to her ‘tree’.

Julie has written about the pets we have owned through the years – “Animal Crackers in My Bed” (the book is on Amazon).

She has also compiled a history book – “The World After World War 1” (a ‘Tome’, really) of letters written by her grandmother and two sisters of her grandmother. One of the sisters serving overseas in the Red Cross during ‘World War One’. The letters brilliantly depict the history of the time – 1918-1921…also on Amazon. (A copy of one of the letters, written by James Thurber to the Red Cross sister, was acquired by Ohio State University for their historic documents of major importance.

Julie is a unique and beautiful lady, and, for some forty years, she has been there to help and encourage me in my writing, to love me, and a mom of the highest order… I am a most lucky man…



ired But Still in the Fight

Tired – But Still in the Fight

BR Chitwood


The softness, sweetness settles within me

On this still, slumberous, summer day…

The sky above is clear and convenient

 To my aging heart and soul of wandering.

The big windows out of which I peer

Display the birds, quails and rabbits in

Their daily missions for food and play,

          Forever watchful as the coyotes are fast         

 Afoot, canny, can spring from the idle

Brush, Ironwood, and Palo Verde Trees.


Here, in the comfort of A/C and luxury,  

My mind ponders the plurality of messages

My outside view might reveal through

This tired heart and soul that have borne

Witness to so much my Gracious God

Has so generously shared along my way…

The joy of love and family, the search

For fame and glory that has shown in

Quantities never as large as one might hope,

Never the prominence foolish pride allowed.


So, it seems this beauty outside my windows

Is occasionally followed by rain and wind…

Perhaps, more in hope and longing, nay, in

Truth and Faithful days and nights of dark

And wistful thoughts, witnessed by the moon

And brilliant stars outside another window…

After prayer, a truth emerges, vague, tingling,

And, suddenly, my bedroom wall to the East,

 An amorphous cloud slowly passes, my eyes

Widen: an image of Jesus gently smiling…


BR Chitwood –


The Meaning of Life

This is but one installment of Grandmother Julie’s

 responses to Granddaughter MacKenzie Orchowski’s series of questions from ‘Storyworth’

The Meaning of Life

By Julie Anne Chitwood

The meaning of life for me is being surrounded by loved ones.

My parents brought me up that what counts in someone is their character – not race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, etc. I have tried to follow that all my life. And I’ve been lucky to have wonderful family and friends. And, like quite a few of our tribe, I have met a lot of people that have added to my life – sometimes just a moment of time by a smile or a quick hello in passing.

Another rule of life drilled into me from the beginning is that we are responsible for the critters in our life. Seeing to their needs and wants always comes first. You do not sit down to dinner until their bowls have been filled. Baby Cat used to sit on my Mom’s lap and the family would have to wait on Mom so that Baby Cat was not disturbed! It was funny watching Dad jump up to refill Mom’s coffee cup so that the cat did not lose her comfortable ‘lap’.

One time I was talking to Butch McBride and he recounted when he had destroyed a cactus on a picnic when he was a young kid. He said my Dad just looked at him and shook his head and in his low voice that he used when you were in trouble commented, ‘Butch, I’m so disappointed in you’. Butch said he even had problems killing weeds after that. The earth was to be respected. That wasn’t a big deal – no bragging rights – you simply picked up after yourself. And in Arizona you sure watched where you walked and placed your hands and feet. Snakes, Gila Monsters, critters, had first rights as we were visiting their home ground. One time in Kentucky Shelley had me remove a spider that she didn’t want to share the bathroom with but also didn’t want to be the cause of it’s death.

Another fact of life drilled into me was to give people the benefit of the doubt, as it was impossible to know what bad moments they were going through. I’ve watched our tribe follow this as they are not quick to judge. More likely to give an understanding smile than taking offence. And it is amazing what a smile can accomplish. I’ve been with Robin when we’ve passed someone and she had commented to them what a pretty dress they are wearing or stunning hair. The person will first show surprise and then a smile will cross their face – their day just got better.

Small things add up to big things. The challenge is to make those good things rather than downers.

A child giving you their trust as they hold up their arms. An animal showing you their belly, knowing you won’t hurt them. A friend being able to unload, sure that you will not betray their trust. Your mate is always sure that you have their back.

The gift of laughter and love. For me those are all the meaning of life.

Your loving Grandmother,

Julie Anne (Gehrandt) Chitwood

PS: How life NOT be a GIFT with this little fellow and wonderful parents?


Proud Grandparents AND Great Grandparent

Meet Owen Orchowski – YES! He is and will be FAMOUS!
Great Grandma Chitwood (Quite a few months back!)
Beautiful Proud Mom, MacKenzie!
Pretty Mom and Owen Shopping!
Proud Grandpa Craig and Owen!
Owen with Uncle Dixon!
Meet Owen’s Mom and Dad: Tyler & MacKenzie Orchowski

Sorry for quality of image BUT they are all beautiful!!! Take my word!

Do You Know This Man?

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Do You Know This Man?

By BR Chitwood

Do You Know This Man?

No? I knew him, not so well, some forty years ago…he was a habitue, a devotee, of the Phoenix neon night life, searching for parts of himself he lost along a long emotional road from the hills of Appalachia: lost in an abusive and disoriented childhood; lost in a flawed and impetuous marriage; lost in the glittering promise of booze and women. Yes, I knew him, not so well, as he made all his stumbles along the way, losing not only himself but the connections to family and friends, to the people who loved him.

Yes, of course, I’m the man in the photo, and there’s a lot more to the story…hope you’ll read THE CRACKED MIRROR, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, by Billy Ray Chitwood.

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Amazon Worldwide


Excerpts from “The Cracked Mirror…”


In the end, my story must be like so many others, a story of a simple kid who grew up eating emotional soup and spending a lifetime trying to digest it. There are no spectacular or heroic moments. I’ve been in the United States Navy, but I’ve never fought a war—except the one I’ve declared within myself. So I know not the pain of holding a bleeding comrade to my bosom as he or she gasps the final breaths. I know not the anguish of a parent losing a child in an accident, or, in war—unless losing a child to drugs can be comparable. I’ve loved and been in love, but I’ve never stepped far enough from myself to know the true and natural profundity of its happiness and joy. I’ve been born but never died—unless the demon of the past is segmented death. The prospect of dying scares the hell out of me—not so much the prospect itself, but the pitiful legacy that is left behind. I’ve known insecurity and fear, along with self-confidence, loyalty, and pride. There have been the sins, small enough, I hope, to keep me at least somewhere in the thoughts of those I’ve loved. At times I’ve longed for ‘Nepenthe,’ the drug mentioned in ‘The Odyssey’ as a remedy for grief, the potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain and sorrow. But, then, without some pain, can the soul truly seek refuge when the long journey is over?


The jail cell brought back sobriety and a stark reality. Sitting on a hard dirty ‘bed thing’ in the dimly lit, tiny barred enclosure, the demon thoughts came and possessed me. My world was disintegrating around me! The claustrophobic cell was my coffin of contriteness, a veritable symbol of my languishing life. There again was the ‘dark closet’ feeling within me, an anxious and suffocating hell! Grabbing at the bars I pitifully called out to the jailer, but no one came. Within the limited space I paced, stopped at the ugly stained wall, splayed my body against it, and tapped my forehead against its roughness. The jailer eventually came. He showed me a smile of compassion and told me that morning would come soon; then, I would be arraigned. The fitful night would pass.


It is Time that wears down the acts and deeds of man into something forgettable, mundane, heroic, noble, historical, and unforgettable. It is Time that leads us warily toward the greatest secret of all: That which lies beyond the dark veil!


“…There are men like you in the world, Prentice, through whatever kind of intervention, divine or otherwise, who must make us cry and laugh, who record for us the stirrings of the soul which we might otherwise never know.”

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BR Chitwood

Okay, here I am today, no longer chasing those windmills, still trying to figure out this ‘one foot in front of the other’ thing. There are times when it seems I’m pretty close to figuring out this grand production, but those times are little teaser moments to stir something in the soul — sort of like a dreaded visit to a doctor or dentist, getting the car repaired – feels great when you find out the blood pressure is normal (thanks to a little round pill taken each day), the teeth cleaning and exam present no new cavities, and the car now carries no shameful dent.

All in all, living for some years on the rolling bluegrass hills of lovely Kentucky, a good wife, an aging, lovable cat, great daughters and sons, have given me happiness and joy. Back in Arizona the past still gets in my way at times in inscrutable ways, like a misty longing for something valuable I’ve left behind. I’ve never abandoned my faith, though fragile it might be, and there are many more good days than bad,

With all this said, I’m still writing, still searching…guess that only stops when mortal time gives up on me…

 BR Chitwood – April 6, 2022

If you like books of mystery, suspense, action, romance, many of which are inspired by true events, please visit my website at  https://www.brchitwood.com – after a short bio, just scroll down the ‘home’ page to preview the books and synopses of each.

More: It’s all here: https://www.brchitwood.com


Nine of the author’s 20 books shown below…  Go to https://www.brchitwood – Website with synopses of all 20 books, over 375 blog posts, short stories, poetry, songs, author info, and BUY SITES AT YOUR AMAZON SITE…

Please visit! You will find some good reading with ‘BUY SITES’, book reviews, et al!

BR Chitwood – Author

April 6, 2022


All books below have 5-STAR REVIEWS on AMAZON!


If you like books of mystery, suspense, action, romance, many of which are inspired by true events, please visit my website at  https://www.brchitwood.com – after a short bio, just scroll down the ‘home’ page to preview the books and synopses of each.

More: It’s all here: https://www.brchitwood.com



Nine of the author’s 20 books shown above…  Go to https://www.brchitwood – Website with synopses of all 20 books, over 375 blog posts, short stories, poetry, songs, author info, and BUY SITES…

Please visit! You will find some good reading with ‘BUY SITES’, book reviews, et al!

BR Chitwood – Author

April 6, 2022

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