Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Obsessions: Dreaming of Gardens in January (Part 1)

Gardening has been one of my life's obsessions. The day I run out of obsessions is the day I die.

This obsession started because it was my father's obsession as long as I can remember. When his mother died, he was three years old and the youngest of three brothers. When his father finally remarried, his stepmother took it upon herself to teach him about gardening. Perhaps she understood the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

All my life, my father planted gardens, dreamed of them, planned for them. When he became old, diabetic, and blind in one eye, he still planted a garden. At the end of his gardening days, he would hang on to the fence to guide him down to the garden in his back yard. He required help to till the soil and plant. A few times he fell down and injured himself. Everyone told him it was time to give up gardening. He was going to kill himself.

The gardening finally ended. One by one, my father lost all his obsessions, including gardening. Today, he spends his days in a nursing home. He is well-cared for and comfortable, but most days he lives in a cocoon, unaware of the world around him, often not recognizing others, bereft of obsessions.

Words of wisdom - hang on to your obsessions as long as you can. Next post will be a little down and dirty about gardening obsessions.


  1. Thanks a lot for making me cry. That was so touching. It reminds me of my father and his love/obsession for woodworking and making clocks. I have many of the projects he made. My treasured object is one of the many clocks he made, a grandfather clock, Every 15 minutes I am reminded of him when it chimes. The chiming drives my husband crazy, especially when he is trying to sleep. He’s a light sleeper. My father passed away—it will be 2 years in March. He was blind the last eight years of his life and could no longer work with wood. That was so upsetting for him. If there is a Heaven, he is up there, working with my uncle in a huge workshop with all the cool woodworking tools. And it’s a dust-free workshop. Boy, the dust he made in the garage when he was working on his projects!

  2. My grandfather loved woodworking. He was 90 and puttering around in his workshop when he suffered an aneurysm. He was one of the lucky ones.