Dear Readers and Friends,
My nephew, who moved as a young man from the U.S. to England, recently emailed saying he found “many interesting pictures and stories” on my website and asked that I send him some of the photos digitally. I assume he is mostly interested in those that include his dad, my brother Karl who died of cancer when the now-British resident was an unhappy boy of twelve. I’ll be rooting though some old photographs over the weekend.
Some of you may already know that my story, “The Black Stones of Regret,” was recently published in Inklette. It’s not the best of my writing—I think the essay “Virus in America” is superior, notwithstanding the grief some readers gave me over it—but I’ve learned, a writer’s opinion of her work is hardly impartial.
This year, I hope, I’ll get my essays and stories compiled into a wholesome whole that moves into book form. I know, I’ve expressed the idea before. That was before I understood just how much revising it takes to produce even one good piece of writing. I have taken writing workshops and seminars, but frankly, I’ve learned more about writing than anywhere else from serving on the judging teams of Ageless Authors and Mud Season Review. Again and again I want to urge the writers I read to not get stuck in vignettes of adolescent angst or mini-tragic stories about girl (or boy) meets boy (or girl). Titles, too, leave much to be desired. Many times the author gives one word. One single word! That’s not descriptive. It hardly serves to evoke reader interest. Sometimes I tire of all the babble I’m obliged to read —and then I remind myself, I, too, have written such stuff and submitted it for publication. Occasionally something got printed that I wish had never seen the light of day.
Friends and family email that surely 2021 will be better than 2020. Let’s hope the wish comes true, even though the climate crisis likely will continue to take its toll and get worse in the process. Life is difficult and not getting any easier. We must remind ourselves to be grateful for what small grace comes our way. Many Americans exist in despair with no end in sight.
Sorry to be glum when the new year has barely gotten underway. My nephew found something positive to email about my website, which must mean, sometimes I am upbeat. Let me hear from you. Alternatively, you might try emailing or writing with someone to whom you lost touch. It may cheer you as it did my email-writer from England.