The First Gift

“Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third. “ Marge Piercy, an American novelist.

Life. How precious. Love. It’s the highest form, a glorious gift from our Lord. Understanding is something I need more of.

Lord, I fall so short, so much of the time. Please give me more thankfulness, love, and acumen.

Those Memories

“To be human is to have a collection of memories that tells you who you are and how you got there.” Rosecrans Baldwin, an American novelist. 

For me, that is the beauty of the memoirs I have written. I wasn’t just writing my story. I was trying to make sense of it. 

Yes. I was in a dangerous boat race as a teen. I was an adolescent. I was not the adult me by any stretch. Who was that guy? 

The good Lord didn’t want me in Vietnam. That is why, for me, the Physician Draft ended and then, my scheduled draft physical was canceled. 

Finally, thank God for my curiosity. When I thought I had finished my

tour of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Open House, it prompted me to

go up a narrow stairway to the point I would meet my spouse of 45 years

and counting.


Referring to her reading, Judith Guest, an American novelist said, “It’s the only thing that seems to centre me, bring me back to remembering who I am. Or forgetting who I am!

The forgetting got my attention. It has been more than 50 years since I suffered with clinical depression, a flat existence, by far the worst experience of my life.

One of the things that made me feel better was getting outside myself, reading. Thank God for HUGE favors.


“A book, a true book, is the writer’s confessional. For, whether he would have it so or not, he is betrayed, directly or indirectly, by his characters, into presenting publicly his innermost feelings.” Nelson Algren, the late American writer.

I guess I did it twice, in my memoirs and in my fiction. It is cathartic. It helps me to understand my past. Thanks be to God that He has given me this opportunity to do this and to live into my late 70s.

But it’s not only a game

“I have no television – I hate it.” Patricia Highsmith, the late American novelist.

No t.v.? These digital, heavily pixelated, large screen contraptions can carry you almost there.

For a great, major league baseball game you get to miss traffic, overpriced food and your distance from home plate.

You gain the comfort of your home, the potential for delightful commentary and the nearness of your refrigerator.

Wow, and it all starts this Thursday, opening day.


“I’m a poet. And then I put the poetry in the drama. I put it in short stories, and I put it in the plays. Poetry’s poetry. It doesn’t have to be called a poem, you know.” Tennessee Williams.

I hear you Tennessee. My prose is quite a stretch from your masterful work.

However, When the good Lord allows I’m at my best, my prose is poetic. It isn’t storytelling or answering why questions. It has a certain ring I cannot describe, thank God.

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.