Paul Newman, the Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man, A Memoir, a Review

Worth a second look…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

When I was in high school, I saw The Hustler, an excellent film about a pool hustler, about three times. I bought my pool cue and became an avid pool player. It was a magnificent film that introduced me to Paul Newman.

Later on, I spent my sophomore year in college living in the fraternity house where Joanne Woodward’s aunt, Aunt Nancy, was the housemother. One evening she brought her sister, Joanne Woodward’s mother, to dinner and we all had time to meet her.

For obvious reasons, I followed Paul Newman’s career carefully and enjoyed other films of his, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting.

Before reading this book, I had already read Paul’s dear friend, A. E. Hotchner’s biography of Paul. The two books were very different.

Hochner’s went slightly deep, but David Rosenthal’s, the editor, went much deeper. All the interviews and oral…

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Refraining and Comforting

“My feeling is that there is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others, and comforting those that are sad.” Olive Schreiner, the late South African writer. Loving others is central to the Good Book.

Lord knows I need to get better at both. I can tear up during a poignant scene in a movie or the sight of a wounded child on the news. But, consistently offering compassion and kindness in my daily life, that only can get better in God’s hands.That’s love.


“Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.” Erich Fromm, the late German, philosopher, and psychoanalyst.

I was about 25, a medical student with a good friend who gave me the same advice. He was a photographer, a good one. He specifically advised. “Don’t live with a woman until you can live with yourself.” That took time, but it happened living alone at 32. She and I have been wed for 45 years. 

The friend didn’t tell me the critical element. A marriage needs the hand of God. Notably, in God’s hands, we are never alone.

Those Gifts

Some mornings I am just glad to be alive, to be warm, to have a roof over my head, a spouse who loves me and a fine cup of coffee to start the day. Isn’t it the gifts from God that make life with its obstacles a thing to be treasured?

In giving that some thought, may your day be blessed by getting closer to our blessed Creator.


“Words can sting like anything, but silence breaks the heart.” Phyllis Mc Ginley, late Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Breathes there a human without a heinous phrase from a parent stuck in their craw since childhood? Words can hurt.

But silence. It ‘s powerful. It can be living, breathing abandonment. It can be disrespect. One is suddenly not worthy of words

Silence, on the other hand, can be an effective tool for an orator. It can add power to a critical point when bound with it.

From yet another perspective, my silent time with the Lord in prayer is vital to my journey. It draws me close never left abandoned.

The Joy of Reading

Referring to the cornucopia available to the reader, Ben Okri, a Nigerian poet and novelist notes: “…all come to life in the mind, painted into existence by the reader’s creative powers. In this way the creativity of the writer calls up the creativity of the reader. Reading is never passive.”

Wow. No director. No cinematographer. No actors. It all happens within our own minds. Sounds healthier than a couch potato binge. Don’t you think?


“Everybody’s idea of a great book is different, of course. For me it’s one that makes my jaw drop on every page, the writing is so original.” Carl Hiaasen, an American author.

I guess that’s one of the reasons there are many good books turned down by multiple publishers. That also helps to explain why I love Steinbeck’s work and Hemingway’s leaves me flat. Thank God we are all different.

Too Old?

“Life gets better the older you grow, until you grow too old of course.” Keri Hume, the late New Zealand writer. How old is too old?

Osteoarthritis is prone to worsen. Cognition and reflexes tend to wear down. But is that life?

Good meals with family or dear friends can get better with age. Appreciation of a good story in what we read or watch can grow.

If we love and cherish our Lord, the relationship can grow even stronger. Our gratitude can reach new heights as the difficulties of being “too old” mount while the good Lord cushions the journey with LOVE.

Where would we be without Love?

Tell Me a Story

“Storytelling brings us together through shared experiences and the understanding that we’ve all come from the same place. We’ve all experienced the ups and downs of the world around us…when we tell stories we connect with the truth that we’re all the same.” Gregg Olsen, a best selling author.

We needed stories like milk when we were first communicating. It never ends. The stories can kickstart many a relationship and delightfully, if it’s happened, that treasured friendship with your spouse.

May God bless you with stories to write and/or read. They do bring us together

The Pen

“Solitude, whether endured or embraced, is a necessary gateway to original thought.” Jane Hirshfield, an American poet.

I generally embrace solitude. The world seems a noisier place as I head towards my own sunset nearing the end of my eighth decade.

It is good to quiet those arthritic joints and worrisome thoughts. In doing so my world of writing opens more easily. It’s only by the hand of God in my life these things are fluid as aging is not for the faint of heart.

Thank God for my spouse, the roof above us, the ability to retire and our wonderful offspring. That is what makes these golden years in which my pen can give life substance through original thought. Thanks for listening.