|Photo credited to www.fredafflerbach.com|
Former truck driver and newly found author Fred Afflerbach spoke to Texas State University students at Mass Comm Week Tuesday afternoon.
Afflerbach met with students in Old Main where he discussed his experiences on the road and the origins of his book "Roll On".
Afflerbach said he wanted to tell the story of the independent spirits he met while trucking. "They were folklore heroes," Afflerbach said. He referred to them as 'knights of the highway.'
The truck drivers of his day had ethics like a fraternity. "If your rig broke down we [truckers] would help each other out," Afflerback said. "Today things are different. I once saw a truck driver parked playing video games on his laptop."
The long and lonesome hours on the road gave Afflerbach the inspiration to start writing. Treking all across North America, Afflerbach had quite an experience. "Driving over the Golden Gate bridge through Alligator Alley and Tikes Peak, I witnessed all this scenery," Afflerbach said. "Somebody had to tell this story."
The native Texan came back home to Texas and continued his higher education. While trucking to support his family, Afflerbach attended night classes at Austin Community College.
Afflerbach graduated from Texas State University in 2007 with a double major degree in mass communication and English.
After graduating, Afflerbach wrote for Marble Falls' newspaper The Highlander but found himself in a dead end. "I realized I wasn't going anywhere in newspapers," Afflerbach said. "The economy was belly up at the time."
Afflerbach created a manuscript and sent it to numerous publishers. Rejection after rejection, Afflerbach's story was finally published in April 2012.
"My life certainly didn't change overnight," Afflerbach said.
Students also commented on Afflerbach's speech.
Junior Karlton Wilson said the transition from a blue collar worker to a professional writer was very interesting. "His story was truly inspiring," Wilson said.
"You can do whatever you want. You just have to set your mind to it," senior Danielle Rucker said. "I really enjoyed his speech."
Afflerbach's story is one of determination. "I wasn't a natural storyteller. It was a skill I had to develop," Afflerbach said. "I am just grateful I had a literary background from my family and read a lot of good books."