"Don't be a silent picture on the mantle of someone's house"
That, in a nutshell, is Dave Armbrust's story. His hope is that everybody tells their story.
Armbrust, 48, has written his first book, "Stories from the Farm." He doesn't expect to win any awards with the book. Instead, he hopes it will encourage others to write their life stories to preserve them forever.
"What really prompted me to write the book is we recognized we have this great set of stories from the 10 years we lived on the farm in Westerville," Armbrust said. "We bought a 100-year-old farm that was abandoned.
"Every time I would tell a story people would say 'you should write that story down.' I started collecting stories from the farm. I had a friend who just had a book published and had him look at my stories. At the recommendation of this guy, I sent my manuscripts off to a couple of names he gave me. Two came back and wanted to go with it."
Armbrust settled with Tate Publishing of Mustang, Okla. The book is expected to hit the stores in May or June.
"The stories are all funny and entertaining ... nothing heavy and nothing we face on a day-to-day basis," Armbrust said.
"The book absolutely fits the kind of reader who wants to pick up a book and put it down. You can read it in a night or a week or month later. It's a collection of short stories. It's a perfect book for that person who wants an escape every once in awhile. Look at the table of contents and see what piques your interest.
"All of the chapters could mean something to everybody."
Armbrust and his wife, Lynn, bought the abandoned farm house. Throughout the 10 years in the house with their two children, Lauren and Daniel, Dave wrote about many of his memories.
Among the chapters are:
"It's a beautiful sunset. What's that sound?"
"Hardwood under the Red Shag Carpeting."
"The Smoking Ground."
"Pigtails in a Corvette."
"Making Syrup out of Sap."
"The Pilot missed the Trees and Repaired the Fence."
'Mice Love Dog Food."
"There are a number of great stories," Armbrust said.
"What it really is to me, is you might find some inspiration to write your own stories. In the final chapter I wrote 'Don't be a silent picture on the mantle of someone's house. Can I preserve the wisdom I have? The theme is I want to preserve my stories for people who might like to read them.
"As you get older, when you get back together with your buddies, the stories get a little foggy. Everybody has their crazy stories that matter to a handful of people ... they can bring a value to somebody's life. If we can get people to write stories in their words and perspectives, it can be fun. Every story has three sides yours, mine and the truth."
"Everybody has their own way of looking at similar situations. That's why everybody should write their stories."
For Armbrust, the book is something he has dreamed about for years.
"I realize I am not saving the world and there won't be any writing prizes for me," he said. "It's one of those things 15 or 20 years ago I put together a list of some things I wanted to do with my life. One of those was writing a book. I wrote all of the words ... I am living my own words. Write it down. Make it happen. I am a can-do kind of guy. I am a guy who wants to try everything I can.
"This one is the big one, because this one has a test ... will somebody else like it?"
Along with the book, Armbrust is starting a Web site, Told4Ever.com a place where everybody can write their stories and share them, if they want, with others.
"It's not a blog of emotional stages," Armbrust said. "It's not Facebook or MySpace or YouTube."
Armbrust, son of Dick and Helen Armbrust, of Norwalk, hopes to launch his Web site in March.