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, July 10, 2013

Walking and Writing

Frustration. I need to get my head clear so this morning I decided on a walk. At 9:00 am there is still a cloud cover, but I know I better get going because the sun will soon burn it off and I don't do sweating well. Too much of that Norwegian DNA. I'm like my grandmother--no thermostat. So when I get hot, I just turn beat red and, well, the next thing is heat exhaustion and death. But I'm being overly dramatic. So I head down my street until I hit the main drag, Marguerite. Marguerite Parkway is a busy, well-manicured street lined with trees, bushes, and flowers (magnolias and roses). I walk past the clock tower, the soon-to-be 7 Eleven that everyone in the neighborhood has protested, and the YMCA. I can hear the kids hollering as they are taking their early morning swim lessons. Ah, sweet summers when you were a kid and totally free. (Hey, I'm finally totally free, just old.)

When I pass the assisted-living apartments and golf course, I look up at the Saddleback Mountains looming large and slate blue. The mountains draw your vision skyward so you don't notice the long, never-ending sidewalk. I'm beginning to feel warm already and the sun hasn't even broken through yet as I pass homes and reach the lake. I turn away from the lake which looks like a picture from some European travel brochure and head toward a small shopping center. My brain is beginning to work. A story is beginning to form in the back of my brain.

I continue on my march, my eyes taking in the Bottlebrush, the Bougainvillea, and roses. When I reach the gas station I notice that there are a half dozen police officers gathered around a laptop perched on the trunk of a patrol car. The are all young and trim and busy shuffling papers. Apparently, Mission Viejo police officers don't eat donuts.

Almost home now with about a mile to go, I intend to pick up my pace, but I'm lazy and working on a story about a girl who calls herself Marla. I don't care for the name, but I'm listening to her story.

Finally I reach my neighborhood and I meet a couple of neighbors on the street. They tell me they are reading DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK and they like it. I'm relieved. Pleased. My spirit is out of the gutter now.

When I reach my house, I've done 3 miles and I've got a story rolling around in my head about a young newlywed who is addicted to romance novels and how that can get you into deep trouble. I promise to deliver that story in a week or two.


  1. A week or two? Wow, that's fast. Usually by the time I get to my computer whatever story I was dreaming up in the back of my head is gone.


    1. Well, at this point I'm only thinking of a very short story. Yeah, you have to get to the computer pretty quickly or your brain loses the whole thread in a couple of hours.