By Rachel M. Anderson, Contributing Writer
(Tucson, Ariz.) – When most people sit down to write a memoir, they focus on their accomplishments. But former major market television news director Forrest Carr, who passed away in Feb. 2016, was never one to do what is expected.
At a time when many television stations were focused on the “If it bleeds it leads” mentality, Carr made sure the newscasts he led contained stories of substance. He most recently worked at KGUN-TV in Tucson. He has also served as news director at WFLA-TV in Tampa, WFTX-TV in Ft. Myers and KRQE-TV in Albuquerque.
In his memoir, he doesn’t glorify the incredible experiences he had covering some of the biggest stories of his time—such as the 2011 mass shootings in Tucson that put his station under tremendous pressure to make sure it reported the story correctly from the beginning and kept on doing so (it was one of the very few worldwide that did); the 9-11 Attack on America and the tremendous cultural changes it brought about in terms of audience expectations for fairness, balance and objectivity (standards the audience largely fought to change or even throw out the window); or any of a number of other major stories that have shaped our age. Instead, he focuses on an aspect of his life that has come as a complete surprise to a lot of people who have known him for years.
The title of his latest book says it all. My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences and Strange Happenings: How one ordinary person learned to experience precognitions, visions, lucid dreaming, and even miracles—and you can, too.
Yes, you read that right. The same guy who during his news career either won or shared credit in more than 90 national journalism awards, most recently a national Edward R. Murrow station award for best website, wants to talk to you about miracles and the paranormal—not exactly what you would expect from a career newsman.
“The book does not propose to make you ‘believe in the occult’ or anything like that. But it does invite you to view life from a different perspective, with a view toward helping you see and understand common experiences that may have passed you by until now,” said Carr. “These phenomena are part of your heritage as a human being—phenomena that reputable and widely respected scientists such as Carl Jung have recognized as real and significant to the overall human experience.”
Carr’s memoir begins with a reflection back on the series of miracles that saved his life when he was just a teenager, personal secrets that have not been told until now. Then it goes on to focus on the premonitions that have played a role in shaping his life since then.
These include such things as the overpowering feeling of dread that led him to believe something really bad was about to happen on or about September 11, 2001. Carr explained this feeling of dread was so overwhelming that when he needed to purchase a plane ticket for travel to an event taking place that week, for the first time in his professional life he spent extra money in order to buy a fully refundable plane ticket.
But it’s not all dread and gloom in the book. It tells one story after another about delightful coincidences; how they came about; what happened in the aftermath; how human connections were made or rekindled; and how some of these remarkable events have had profound and lasting effects on the author’s life and friendships.
Perhaps even more notable than those things, however, is his response to a gut feeling that told him he should quit his day job and focus on his dream of becoming a published novelist “before it was too late.” On his blog, thebashfulbloviator.blogspot.com, he wrote, “Had I kept working instead of embarking on that change of life, here I'd sit diagnosed with terminal cancer, with nothing to show for it other than another two years of experience as a TV news director under my belt.”
Earlier this year, while in the middle of writing his third novel, Carr was diagnosed with terminal metastatic transitional cell carcinoma. He died in Feb. 2016, but thanks to his premonitions, rather than having regrets Carr was able to fulfil his dream, having released a total of three well-received novels and his memoir.
Most recent among the novels is The Dark, published in June 2015. It’s the story of a crew of astronauts who go so far out in space there are no more stars or planets. Is it possible to travel so far that you arrive at a point where God no longer exists? And if so, what would be the consequences? The crew of the N.A.U.S. Santa Maria is about to find out, with horrifying, mind-bending results. In its review of this terrifying tale, Publishers Weekly says, “Carr... wants to make readers twitch and cringe, and he succeeds."
Carr’s other novels are A Journal of the Crazy Year, a zombie apocalypse story that is based on real science; and Messages, a reality-inspired crime story set in a TV newsroom. They too have received favorable reviews from the national book reviewer Kirkus Reviews which named Carr a 2015 “Author to Watch.”
In its review of A Journal of the Crazy Year, Kirkus says, “Carr employs jet-black humor reminiscent of Vonnegut…A great case made for the idea that the end isn’t nigh—it’s already here.” Kirkus describes Messages “as a debut novel rendered with smooth skill, filled with “considerable comic energy and fast-paced dialogue.”
“Had I not done what I did, I'd be a very unhappy, bitter person. It doesn't matter so much whether the novels are successful in a New York Times bestseller sense, but it does matter that they were well reviewed and provide a good experience for the reader, thereby helping me reach that level of self-fulfillment I was striving for, without which I would be feeling very lost right now," said Carr.
But Carr did not die feeling lost. He was instead fulfilled.“The real purpose of My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences is hopefully to help readers understand just how wonderful life can be, especially if the mind is opened up to realities that until now have been barred to the reader under the truisms that there is no such thing as the paranormal or any of what that word implies,” said Carr, who claimed no talent as a psychic or anything else along those lines.
He did, however, believe that if he could learn to experience these marvels—such as precognitions, visions, dream flight, lucid dreaming, and so on—then anyone can—and in the process extract an incredible sense of just how wonderful life is and how every single day is a gift to be embraced. In doing so, he shares secrets from his personal life that absolutely no one was aware of, secrets that helped inspire him along the way and to achieve a new appreciation for life’s marvels and joys. In fact, this memoir may be of particular assistance to anyone who is feeling “down” right now or who could benefit from a bit of personal inspiration.
My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences –and- Strange Happenings: How one ordinary person learned to experience precognitions, visions, lucid dreaming, and even miracles—and you can, too was released in Sept. 2015. The book is available for purchase as a paperback or Kindle from Amazon.com. The paperback is also available on BarnesandNoble.com and Books-A-Million.com.
About the Author
Forrest Carr lost his battle with cancer on Feb. 3, 2016. He became a TV news director in 1997. He worked in the Memphis, San Antonio, Tampa, Fort Myers, Albuquerque, and Tucson television markets, serving as news director in the latter four (including twice in Tucson).
During his first stint as news director in Tucson, Carr launched the innovative "Viewers' Bill of Rights." He has received or shared credit in more than 90 professional awards, including a Suncoast Regional Emmy for investigative reporting, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting, a Walter Cronkite large-market station award for excellence in television political journalism, and most recently, a national Edward R. Murrow station award for best website.
Carr was a long-time fan of old school science fiction, particularly the works of Robert Heinlein. In addition to his fiction work, Carr also co-wrote the McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing title, Broadcast News Handbook, a college textbook now in its 5th edition.
- end -