Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Truck driver’s life translates to writing

By Rick Martinez

Truck driver turned novelist Fred Afflerbach revisited his experiences for Texas State students during Mass Comm Week last Tuesday.

Afflerbach attended Texas State in 1992 when the University was called Southwest Texas State. Raised in a literary family, he decided to take a different route as an independent truck driver.

Afflerbach discussed the obstacles he overcame to become a truck driver and the benefits of traveling around the country. 

Megan Lavender, a public relations major, gained insight from Afflerbach’s discussion.Lavender said, “I didn’t really realize how rough it was to be a truck driver.”

Afflerbach mentioned the hardships families experience when relatives are on the road for long periods of time. He also dubbed truck drivers as the “knights of the highway” or “folk heroes.” These particular terms referred to truck drivers who would often help others with roadside assistance.

While driving along Broadway Road in Manhattan, Afflerbach realized the truck driver’s story needed to be told.

Lavender said she felt inspired that Afflerbach took the initiative to write about his life.

“If not, it’s just going to be a lost story,” Lavender said.

In 2002, Afflerbach enrolled at Austin Community College, where he joked of having to park his rig three blocks away and walk to class.

Though there was an age gap, Afflerbach said he didn’t mind it.

“I was just happy to be there,” Afflerbach said.

After transferring to Texas State, Afflerbach wrote as an opinions columnist for the University Star, and later graduated in 2007 with dual degrees in journalism and English. Afflerbach also had the opportunity to write for the San Antonio Express-News.

Electronic media junior, Shellie Billingsley, said she felt motivated by Afflerbach’s story.

“Roll On:  A Truckers Life on the Road,” Afflerbach’s finished product, is a fictional book about the life of Afflerbach.

There were a few measures Afflerbach took during the process of becoming a published writer. A one-page summary of the book had to be made for publishers. Adam Goetz, a journalism major, said he was unaware of the one-page summary and felt it was unfair, but good to know.

Although some students felt indifferent about the publishing process, Glen Tadyeh, a senior journalism major, said, “[Afflerbach] was very helpful, it was good to know good information.”

Tadyeh said he felt more motivated to become a writer after listening to Afflerbach’s story. 

Fred Afflerbach reads an insert from his book, "Roll On:  A Truckers Life on the Road," for students at Texas State University.

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