Saturday, December 17, 2016


My father died six years ago this month. (December 13,  2010). He was a complicated man and often difficult, but he was also one of my biggest and most consistent cheerleaders when it came to my pursuit of writing. For all his ability to be critical about many things in life, he never suggested or implied or hinted that I should stop writing. I started writing poetry when I was a teenager and during those years I would share my poems with my father. I can see him sitting across from me in our screened-in porch, carefully going over every line and word I wrote, pausing to consider what I was trying to say, and encouraging me to keep on with it. Later, when I was publishing articles in national magazines and newspapers, he was my number one fan. With each publication, I got a congratulatory note and a phone call. I'm eternally grateful to my dad for this gift of acceptance about my passion for books and words. Recently, as I was cleaning out old files, I came upon a letter he wrote to his four children about the importance of pursuing what we loved, how it triumphed over such things as money and status. His letter is wistful, but it was written with a generous and courageous heart. I'm sorry he died before my first novel was published, but with greater clarity I see how my decision to pursue a life of writing truly thrilled him. With thanks, and much love to you, Dad. You can read portions of his letter here:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ancestral Wisdom

I spent the day organizing files and, in the process, found an achingly honest letter written by my dad to his kids, which he wrote in 1982. (He died in 2010.) I've pulled out some of what he wrote here. May the wisdom of his words resonate for you as they do for me:

"My upbringing was centered around money and the pursuit of it...Whatever successes came my way as a result were joyless, unsatisfying and frustrating. I never knew why. I always imagined that it was due to my inability to get further, make more...I began to see what me is all about and parts of why I {was} so involved in a life style that {had} minimal meaning for me.

Of course I cannot deny the habits...of immediate pleasure--good food, quarters, clothing, and certain pursuits. But there has always been that emptiness, that lack of fulfillment.

Now as I stand amidst the final stages of my life and before it is too late, I am going to take what is my birthright--the pursuit of nature, the pursuit of art as I want, the pursuit of writing as I view it...

The point to this is simply--whatever the form of activity you choose, no matter how different from that of your inherent past, it will bring a measure of fulfillment in your scale of values that will constitute the truth of and for your life.  Do not let that truth escape!..."


Searching for Something

Thursday, December 1, 2016