Chuck Wanager was born in Decatur, Ill., grew up in Decatur, Ill., and then was off on a journalism career that included reporting and editing positions with several newspapers, big and small, in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Florida. He has also worked as a writer/editor in public information positions, as a summer camp counselor and teacher. But creative writing is his first love. Wanager recently completed his first novel, "Jackson Flats," and is working on a play, screenplay and chapbook of his poetry. He has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year by the Georgia Writers Association
Some Important Information About Up
Homeless, out of work, living out of my car in a Walmart parking lot, alone in darkness. But Chase Stevens doesn’t give up. He has goals and vows to meet them, like, getting out of that Walmart lot, pulling himself up, regaining his self-assurance, pride, adequate food, income, familiar bed, love. Above all, he wants to write. It’s his destiny, he believes, to create novels, poems and other works from the stories he has collected during his up-to-then mostly trouble-free life. Even more, he needs the freedom – the time – to write. Chase steps into the story from a family of modest means. In his background are two college degrees, plus years of experience as a newspaper reporter and editor. He has two children from a marriage mostly successful although mutually ended. Otherwise, things aren’t going so well. In time, he lands in Ten Pines, a Southern town with its very own Walmart parking lot. He finds himself at retirement age with no job to retire from or friends to share growing old with.
He has a partner, but it’s of another kind – a bird, a loud, noisy parakeet – or budgie – which is often rude and intrusive. Despite that, he accompanies Chase in his struggle to stage a comeback in life. Along the way, they meet up with a homeless, veteran named Johnny, who also seeks to recover from a major disruption to his life – an encounter with an IED that left his legs paralyzed. Later, Chase and Caesar, the budgie, come across two people who Chase sees as harmless enough. One takes him into his home. Turns out, the men have different goals, values. Chase, Caesar and Johnny must deal with the trouble that kicks up. The effort strains hope. Chase must face other challenges, the kind most of us meet in life, although maybe not homelessness. Ones like getting along with difficult people, making quick decisions, even though they might be simultaneous and conflicting, maintaining self-esteem when facing a setback, fighting despair, ferreting out truth. Chase even ponders building a device that will give humans a clue in at least one of those concerns – gauging honesty. The story moves quickly, aided by healthy doses of humor and intrigue.
The second book of poetry by Chuck Wanager. As in his first volume, Taking Our Love Offline, the poet explores a wide range of human emotions. They are delivered with his unique blend of power and sensitivity to give you a new perspective on our experiences, common and otherwise. It is poetry for all readers, from a game played by jail inmates to a crossword poem.
Retirement. For most, it’s an opportunity to look forward. But for Jason V., age sixty-two and with few prospects, an impending move drives his journey into the past and its shadows. It is time to leave the conflicts behind. It is time to free himself.
Budgie Gets Its Tweet Back
In a pet shop a star is born – at least that’s what the parent birds think. They are parakeets, or budgies. From the beginning, the young bird shows a trait as a vocalist – tweeting – and signing in a pleasant tone. Bird mom and dad love their young one. Soon, though, it is old enough to live with people.
One family – mom and dad and young daughter – fall in love with Budgie, the tweeting and signing and other vocalizations. They do not hesitate in taking it home, and name their pet Budgie, after the kind of bird it is. The youngster quickly becomes an integral member of the family with pleasant tweeting and melodic tunes.
Especially at mealtime. The people sit at the kitchen table for breakfast and get their day started with the entertainment. Budgie bobs up and down on its perch and tweets and sings for minutes on minutes – at lunch and dinner, too. Everyone loves it, and the bird even poses for photos by the girl. All is well.
This happy story doesn’t last forever. One day, no tweet, which means no singing, too. All’s quiet in the kitchen where budgie’s cage hangs and all through the house. The star pet slumps in its cage and hunkers down and doesn’t move around or eat – much. Only an occasional peep comes out.
Budgie and the family want their tweet back. What can they do? They make an appointment with Dr. Who, the wise owl. He examines Budgie thoroughly but finds nothing physically wrong. But he recommends no action that might help the bird gets its tweet back. Budgie, mom, dad and their girl aren’t satisfied with that and decide to visit Dr. Stork, an animal behavioralist, who studies the way animals, like birds, do certain things. Again, nothing that the stork can find or determine.
They do get some advice. The good doctor says their beloved bird might be sad for some reason. So, they might try different ways to cheer it up and bring back the Tweet. Which, as we have seen, would mean song would return, too.
Many approaches and ways get a trial. Budgie can eat all it wants. Lots of seed, its favorite food – bags of it – but that doesn’t work. No tweet. No anything. The bird still mostly avoids its feed. Next, favorite videos and music are played. Nope, Still no tweet. They don’t give up, but will anything work?
Budgie gets a pet – a dog – and scatters all kinds of seed. Nothing. The now-silent entertainer plays budgie pong and basketball and other games
Jake Keening is a 22-year old college graduate who covets an exciting job as a reporter for a big-city newspaper. But the only opening he can find is in a small town on the open plains. He believes he is doomed to cover small-time happenings. After a few weeks on the job, he finds out how wrong he has been. Not only does he face the difficult task of digging up proof of rampant corruption in county government, but he must deal with officials – led by the nefarious Bobby Boyle – who stonewall him at every turn. At the same time, he is carrying on a hot romance with a town beauty. It's enough to keep him very busy, and the reader very engaged. Jake is so immersed, he almost wrecks his health and career. Before that can happen, he decides to uncover evidence of corruption on his own (but with a little help), and in a most unconventional way.
Taking Our love Off Line
In Taking our love offline, Chuck Wanager wields a scalpel to slice and dice and a sledgehammer to bludgeon a poem into shape with equal skill. His writing is sharp, incisive, thoughtful, twisting and twisted. Chuck pays attention to details to create poetry that provokes readers to deep thought and feeling. The poems surprise and challenge readers; they are absorbing, and, yes, sometimes skewed because Chuck often sees the world from the other side of the looking glass. --Dr. Eleanor Wolfe Hoomes, Author of DRIVING WITH MY BLINKER ON
Chuck Wanager’s poetry collection Taking our love offline will make the reader see the world in a