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What Do You Write About Families When You Run Out of Facts?

My dad died when I was 16 years old. I’ve found out what I could about him and wrote that in a memoir I called Threshold. But, unsatisfied, I wanted to write more to honor him–as I have for my mother. I followed Dad as far as I could. I know he served with the… Read more What Do You Write About Families When You Run Out of Facts?

See Willy See

My work in progress stars Connor William Conroy. His friends call him C. Willy C. Somewhere, years ago, I found a character profile worksheet and I’ve loved using it ever since. What follows is long, but you’ll get an idea of who this guy is. Connor Conroy Profile Basic Statistics Name: Connor William Conroy Age:… Read more See Willy See

Big Trees

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark . . . that stays with you always.” — John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley,1962 It’s been 56 years since my father took us to the sequoias. We drove through one of the giants and stopped along the road so we could get out of the car and stand… Read more Big Trees

Hale Bopp

As I wrote my memoir years ago, there were stories that didn’t make the cut. As I moved my office during the past week, I removed everything from my file cabinet (to make it light enough to lift) and as I replaced my files, I did a major purge. I also found stuff I hadn’t… Read more Hale Bopp

Jungle Dusk

He’d lost his way in the rainforest when he ran across a dead enemy with chunks sliced from its body—like roasts. His gorge rose. His mother’s words intruded on his thoughts. “Try to remember that you’re a human being.” He’d found that harder the longer he spent fighting. He penetrated deep into the jungle, listening… Read more Jungle Dusk

High-Powered Rifle

The following story bit resulted from a prompt, something about wrapping up in a blanket and pretending to be somewhere else if I remember right. Fear seemed to follow and the rifle seemed a solid fear-provoking object. She wrapped her body in the old crocheted blanket and pretended she was anywhere but here—in the broken-down… Read more High-Powered Rifle

The Spark: Genius and Autism

As a writer of memoirs and historical fiction, I’m passionate about people’s stories. Although I don’t care that much about rich and powerful people, I care a great deal about the so-called “little people.” I could go on about that patronizing term for the folks who allow our leaders to succeed through their labor and… Read more The Spark: Genius and Autism

One Page at a Time

M.K. Tod interviewed Tony Riches on her blog, A Writer of History,that posted yesterday. It was part of her Second Career Writers series and I read through casually—until I got to the very last question. “What advice would you offer other second career writers?” Not a blockbuster question, but I’m glad she asked. The answer: “Read… Read more One Page at a Time

Who Would Have Guessed? Brewmaking?

During my recent long drive to visit one of my sons for the holidays, I listened to an audio book gifted by another son and daughter-in-law.  I have to begin by saying I loved this book The Brewer’s Tale, by Karen Brooks, and its narrator, Hannah Norris. Since I’ve considered recording audiobooks to extend the… Read more Who Would Have Guessed? Brewmaking?

Grandpa Was a Hillbilly

My grandpa was a hillbilly so Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance seemed like an opportunity to learn something about a man I barely knew. Grandpa died shortly after my ninth birthday and all I know about him came from Grandma. She said he came from Daleyville… Read more Grandpa Was a Hillbilly