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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Going Home

Flying over Central Illinois last week, I noted the patchwork quilt of farms, each square containing a notch of clustered buildings. This is where I grew up and except for the general lay of the land, my memories of Bloomington-Normal no longer match the present. The homes I lived in during my youth are still standing, but barely recognizable because they have been remodeled and encroached upon by other buildings. The wide-open space I remembered is gone. I can no longer find my way around. The town is overpopulated with restaurants and motels. It's not that I didn't expect things to change.  While many of my classmates in high school and college stayed, I was happy to roam far away. Each year brought more change--in me and in this place that used to be my home.

The truth is I keep coming back to this place only because of my parents and the frayed memories that form the fabric of my being. My father and stepmother are nearly 90 and as endangered as my memories. My father is in a nursing home. This time when I went to visit, I figured he wouldn't recognize me and that all the memories that bound us together would be gone. He can no longer walk or feed himself. He has to be awoken for meals and medication. Fortunately, he managed to slip out of that Rip Van Winkle slumber of his for an hour and a half on the first day. He seemed to know who I was and could carry on a conversation. Most days he is speechless and befuddled. I am sad. I know I will be even sadder to let go of him, but I will always keep the memory of him as he was before old age and dementia began to wear him down. We was always the father I needed him to be.

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