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.

Editing One’s Own Work

“I hate starting a new book, I am happiest when I am improving my rough drafts.” Francesca Simon, an American author.

I didn’t have any idea this was true for me until I started writing books nine years ago. Four books and one draft later, I get it.

There is something uphill about that voyage across a blank page that I cannot avoid. But the joy of refining what is already there, honing it to the best I can muster is a thrill.

If you enjoy writing may you be blessed with the deep joy of presenting something special for others. That would be following its many beautiful refinements.

And So It Begins

The baseball season is about to begin at the end of March. The sawdust, the favorite fielders’ gloves, the mighty bats, the camaraderie, and this year, a lot of new rules.

It’s the coming of spring. So far, for those of us who are Padre fans, it’s only the Cactus League that plays all over Arizona, spring training. Our team plays in the small hamlet of Peoria.

But, as has been suggested, the fans attending this year have something akin to Beatlemania, given the tremendous team the Padres are bringing to the field.

I have followed baseball long enough to know that just talent won’t do it. You need that team camaraderie. You need good health. You need consistency under pressure. That’s why they play the game we love.


“Yes, we’re invisible. Honored, respected, even loved, but not quite worth listening to anymore. You’ve had your turn, Pops; now it’s ours.” Roger Angell a diverse writer for the New Yorker, in my mind the greatest baseball writer I have ever read.

We recently lost him in his tenth decade.He nailed it in his early nineties with that remark.

But it is ok. I can deal with invisible. Sometimes it’s better, less stressful.

Slowing Down

I am close to 78. Since about the beginning of the year, I have had problems with stiffness and pain in my four extremities.

It seems checking with two of my older friends that can be the lot of my older years. Hopefully, the physical therapy folks can help me make this all less lingering.

On the other hand, by God’s grace, it’s good to be alive. The infirmity has slowed me down and, is chipping away at my impatience. Thank God for huge favors,

My dear spouse of 45 years is making it all more tolerable. God ordained that day we met at her art school’s open house in March of 1977. In some ways, it seems like only yesterday.

3 a.m.

“We are all mad at three in the morning.” Ruth Rendell, the late English crime writer.

Yes. Everything hurts more at 3 a.m. Yes. We are more prone to worry, toss and turn at 3 a.m. Even Less rational? Perhaps.

But the hand of God is waiting to touch our brow, to ease the pain, to give us that wonderful medicine, hope. The coming day is a NEW day in His hands.


“After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language.” Russell Hoban, the late, American, expatriate writer in England.

It is a fine art, communication. The best novels we read are the subject of numerous edits.

The other day in an excellent documentary about Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, I learned he spent seven years writing that fine work. So driven to refine his masterwork, to communicate well.

Sure hope my own writing improves my speech. It sure needs it.


“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglas, 19th-century African American reformer, orator and writer.If you tear up a rose into numerous pieces that’s far easier than piecing it back together.

I think you build strong children by showing no favoritism to siblings and making all the children feel loved, a daily 18 year challenge. I needed God’s grace every step of the way as did my spouse, Kristine.

Yet,Another, Valentine’s Day

It was nearly 50 years ago. I was standing at our wedding with my mom watching my bride dance with her younger brother. Mom looked at me and said, “Are you sure you can keep up with her?

I didn’t answer. But, thank God, this half century later, I wrote a Valentine’s Day card to that beautiful woman. I can’t imagine having spent a huge portion of my life with anyone else.

Sure. We’ve had our spats. But people who love each other have them.

Happy Valentine’s Day Kristine. It’s a little dark out here in Southern California today. But you are lighting it up.

A Very Good Day

How unusual. Last night, Kristine and I watched a streamed program where a lead character had just lost his father.

He shed no tears and recalled only his difficulties with his father. But later, he recalled a wonderful day on which they attended the World Series together appreciating his father’s humanity a bit more.

I had a difficult father. It brought me back, tearfully, to attending an Ohio State football game at seven years of age with my dad. The color, the music, the crowd, and the game itself were thrilling to inhale. Yes he was difficult, but that good day was unforgettable.