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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Invisibles

There are many invisible people, even in the most affluent neighborhoods. You don't know quite what to think of the young, neatly dressed mother pushing a baby carriage who stands on a busy street corner with a sign asking for money or food or shelter. There is an old, bearded man who comes into LA Fitness every evening toting his toiletries. I've never seen him use the equipment. He seems obsessed with cleanliness and always heads straight for the locker room. I suspect he lives in his car and manages to pay the monthly fee so he has access to the showers. I've seen a middle-aged woman standing in front of Costco in the late afternoon, crying with shame, hoping for help. There are the parents who line up their children in folding chairs on the sidewalk to do their school work while they hold up cardboard signs asking for help. Some are entrepreneurial. They ask for work as painters, gardeners, mechanics. Occasionally, someone will offer a couple of dollars out of an open car window, but it's a rare occurrence. Lots of us are turning blind eyes. Then there are the crazed, scraggly looking, on-the-street-too-long people with shopping carts and backpacks. Burnt to a crisp by the sun. Unwashed. Engaged in long conversations with themselves. Not a lot of them, just here and there, silently slipping through the cracks while we all uncomfortably look the other way and try to ignore them. I wonder what I would do in their shoes and why I would think standing on a street corner would ever make a difference. I try to think what animal instincts I would need to survive. I am terrified by their fragility. They are so invisible.

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