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.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Out of the Mouth of Babes: A Direction for the World

Photo by J. Cridland

The world is full of stories. A lot of them are tragic. Many leave us feeling frustrated with the injustice in our world. Some of us avoid the news for these very reasons. This morning I picked up the LA Times and the headlines were mostly depressing:
  • A-Rod and several other baseball players are suspended for drug use. This kind of sports story is getting old. Deny, deny, and then finally admit and still the guilty have no sense of shame. Who was it a couple of months ago? Lance Armstrong.
  • The Southwest, especially New Mexico and Nevada, have experienced 3 years of extreme drought. Ecosystems may never recover, water supplies are so low that states are fighting over rights. The grasslands are dying off, jeopardizing the livelihoods of those who depend on them for grazing cattle. And you say you don't believe in climate change?
  • And forget about all the political nonsense that is going on this country--our totally useless and corrupt Congress, the attempt to diminish voter rights, women's rights, and on and on.
  • And finally all the worldwide stories of greed, war, murder, and abuse.
Around the world and in your own back yard, there is so much unnecessary suffering and pure evil. In a world where communication is instantaneous, we are deluged with news that is weighted heavily toward the negative. Yet, intermingled with these stories are the courageous stories of people who give their lives to help others and fight injustice, poverty, and evil in all its forms. This morning's front page headline was Slum Priests' Endeavor to Aid, Not to Convert, a story of a priest toiling in an Argentine shantytown to help the poor. Pope Francis has spoken about creating a church for the poor. Well, I think he and his slum priests have their work cut out for them, but right on.

A week ago, I asked my 5-year old grandson what he was going to be when he grows up. He hems and haws, but we all know that he wants to be just like his father, a fire fighter. He has had his own turnout gear and clothes since he was a toddler that he changes into on a daily basis. But then his 2-year older sister chimes in. "I'm going to help people." She is naturally very responsive to the world around her. She dutifully tucks all her dollies into bed, she helps her mother with household chores, and she is eager to help put all her nursery school playmates down for their naps and give them a motherly pat on the back. "I'm going to help people." She smiles up at her mother, a nurse. Then she looks at me with a glint of excitement in her eyes. "You too, Grandma? You want to help people?"

I think that's what it is to be truly human--to care about others and the world we live in. Each one of us has a role to play in making the world a better place. There is a seemingly never-ending battle in this world between good and evil, and those who would be good cannot give up. They can't give up on all those who have fallen by the wayside because of poverty, misfortune, or their own bad decisions. They can't walk away from the battle and those who are determined to destroy all that is good in this world.

No matter how disturbing the news, the world is still blessed with a band of persistent, caring warriors. And as long as there are children who have an understanding that they have a place and a responsibility in this world, there is hope for the future, a positive direction for the world.

1 comment:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!