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, July 22, 2014

The Three Ds: Disease, Destruction, and Death

I start every morning with a cup of coffee. I can look out the window from my kitchen table and see the mountains in the distance, the flowers in my back yard, and the birds stirring in the trees. It’s peaceful, quiet. It seems like the beginning of a perfect morning. Sweet.

And then I pick up the newspaper. The front page is almost always devoted to bad news—disease, destruction (man-made and mother nature), and death in all its forms for all its causes. I understand why people don’t want to read newspapers or listen to the news on TV. It’s mind-numbing and heartbreaking. Of course, there is news that is uplifting or enlightening. We desperately crave these stories but there just aren’t enough of them. We feel overwhelmed by all the chaos and close our eyes to the darkness in the world, hoping it doesn’t touch our lives. It does. It always does.

We human beings are responsible for much of the trouble in this world. We are not good stewards of the earth. We are not good to one another. We are not even good to ourselves; we indulge every excess and vice. We are locked in the old, never-ending battle between good and evil. There are those who fight courageously to bring justice and peace to their families, neighborhoods, their countries, and the world. There are others who fight just as hard to feed the beast. We have created a dark world and have a difficult relationship with truth. Just turn on the TV. We feed ourselves an unbalanced diet of detective/crime shows, shows about forensic science and murder, reality shows that are staged absurdity, talking heads, and investigative documentaries about greed, crime and corruption. We feed our kids programming that is insipid, unsupportive of the values we would like to instill in them.

So is the glass half empty or half full? Is it the best of times or the worst of times? Some would say we need to look at events in the context of history; nothing has really changed.  It is the same old battle of good and evil as it always was throughout history. Or is it? Is the speed down that slippery slope of history a little faster? Is the abyss looking deeper and darker and closer?

Perhaps those are not the questions to ask. Perhaps we should ask ourselves what we each can do to preserve what is good and precious on this planet, set aside our egos, and strive to reduce the chaos in whatever way we can.

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