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, August 3, 2016


I'm frustrated. Time keeps slipping through my fingers. Chaos seems to be creeping into my life. It's summer now and under a blazing sun the temperature heads up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day. Gardening needs to be done before ten o'clock; otherwise, it is just too hot. The garden has been somewhat decimated by heat and pestilence. There never is a drop of cooling rain because, well, according to that old song by the Mamas and Papas, "it never rains in Southern Californis." True. So I ration water the best I can and accept that some things must suffer. My beautiful May garden is now in scorched tatters.

By midmorning, I'm thinking what's next? To where do I escape? There are lots of places to go and things to do but, unless it's air-conditioned and doesn't involve bumper-to-bumper traffic, I'm not too enthusiastic. Besides, I have a pile of laundry on the the couch that needs to be folded. There is also a basket of laundry that needs pressing (I refuse to wear wrinkled clothes.)

My diningroom table is covered with books on watercolor painting, sketches, brushes, tubes of paint. On the floor nearby I've started a pile of things for an upcoming family outing--lantern, food items, suntan lotion, trekking sticks, and so on.

In another room are four yards of material and a pattern waiting for assembly. In the kitchen, there are paprika peppers and chili negroes that need to be cut up and put in the dehydrator. Then at four o'clock its off to the hair dresser for a two-hour session. I already know I'm not going to feel like cooking dinner--just leftovers and a glass of wine when I get home.

I'm making myself tired just thinking about all this. How did I ever manage when I had a full time job and kids?

And then there is the TV and the internet, the constant yammering about the presidential election. Talk about frustration. How did the Republican party end up with a nominee who is a mentally unhinged billionaire with an orange comb-over and a small-mouthed scowl that would scare any baby? How do I come to terms with the reality that one of my own brothers is a foaming-at-the-mouth troll for Trump? There's a story here, I'm sure, but do I want to go there?

Yup, I've got to get a grip. Be more disciplined.


  1. I hear you. I have more interest in my PC than anything else except for my garden. I have several things I want to clean up but no time. Two rooms with unused stuff which seems to get moved around ever so often and the beat goes on. So I sit here doing what comes naturally - posting. Hope you have a great weekend.

  2. My upstairs office has ten or twelve pile projects waiting for attention. Some of them are ancient and beyond hope. I'm amazed at the poor use I make of my time. Days roll by and I seem to accomplish nothing. But you! You have all those beautiful paintings rolling off your easel!