Curl Chalker is having the time of his life these days.
He is doing what he has wanted to do for years -- write poetry and short stories.
And now he has an audience. He just wrote and self-published his first book, A Chalker's Thoughts .
The new paperback book even has a Thomson flare. Most of the illustrations were drawn by Josh Thomas, a Thomson High School graduate who now is an art student in Savannah.
"Josh did a fabulous job with the illustrations in the book," said Mr. Chalker. "He even illustrated the front cover of the book. I was real pleased with his work. He's going places."
Mr. Chalker, a Glascock County native who now lives in Thomson with his wife, Virginia Wilson Chalker, said he became serious about his writing in 2003.
One of the first things he did was to chronicle his poems and short stories in a journal.
"I was writing in a journal all the time," Mr. Chalker said, laughing. "It just seemed like the thing to do."
At the time, Mr. Chalker admitted, he never really thought about actually becoming an author.
"I started reading some of my poems to some friends, and they seemed to like them," he recalled. "Some of them even encouraged me to write a book. So, actually that's where the notion to write a book came from."
A Chalker's Thoughts recently was published at Luckey Printing Co. in Thomson. The book has already hit the market and sells for $12.
"I spent my own money to have the book published," said Mr. Chalker. "I'm very proud of the finished product."
In fact, he's so pleased that he is working on a second book, which he hopes to have ready to roll off the printing presses before the end of this year. It will be titled Chalker's Rules of Life .
"I look at this as a personal accomplishment because I've always enjoyed writing," said Mr. Chalker. "I'm enjoying it even more now that I'm an author."
He since has become a member of the CSRA Writers Club, which meets monthly in Augusta.
His newfound fame as an author has him as inspired as he's ever been in his life.
"It really means a lot to have people reading and appreciating my work," said Mr. Chalker, who did a lot of his writing while sitting on a beach at St. Simons Island. "That's a great place to write."
He explained that his inner thoughts as a writer flow so well.
"The beach is a great place to write; it really is," added Mr. Chalker.
For 26 years, Mr. Chalker was division manager at the Thiele Kaolin Co. in Sandersville, where he had 300 employees working under him. He also worked at a grain elevator plant in Jefferson County owned by former Gov. Sonny Perdue.
He also works with his wife as a licensed real estate agent at The Wilson Co. in Thomson.
He hopes that readers get something special out of his book.
"My hope is that at least one person will read it and it will somehow change somebody's life," he said.
Mr. Chalker said he wants to continue to write.
"I'm planning on writing several more books," he said. "It's a lot of fun, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction."
Mr. Chalker will be the special guest Friday at Peacock Hill in Thomson, where one of the newest authors in Georgia will autograph and promote his new book.
A book signing also is planned at Borders Books in Augusta from 1 until 3 p.m. Feb. 5.