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From “76 Trombones” on the radio, to our hometown band’s rousing rendition of “Blaze Away,” to the bagpipes of the Grenadier Guards at Windsor Castle, to the Sousa tunes of my adopted country—I’ve always loved a good march. It’s in my blood.

Today I march forward, not in lockstep with anyone, but to the beat of a different drum. I look back only to see how far I have come, and to glean material for stories.

Though I camp out frequently for spiritual refreshment, or to help a fledgling writer, the movement is ever forward, never in retreat.

Along the way, I leave touchstones to celebrate victories large or small—reminders of why I set out on this crazy venture. Fan mail from students. My first royalty check. A napkin from Cherilyn’s launch party. The blue star Miss Downer gave me in kindergarten for my retelling of “I Saw a Ship A-Sailing.”

Single-minded as a foot soldier along a straight, solid Roman road, on the
foundation laid by writers who marched before us, I keep marching.

Step by step, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page after page, chapter after chapter, to completion of another book.

And another. And another.

I’m a writer. It’s what I do. Read More 

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Catch a Falling Writer


Catch a Falling Writer

I can’t help falling in love with words:
Saxon, Germanic, Latin, or coined by the Bard;
short, long, terse, flowery, subtle, shiny words.

I can’t help falling in love with a silver-nib fountain pen;
syringing black ink from a bottle like a junkie, or
swapping out a cartridge for my next fix,
scratching thoughts on hammered vellum.

I can’t help falling in love with gel pens;
green, magenta, turquoise, according to mood
scribbling vignettes in a composition book.
As the Thames flows to the sea, so this ink
is my life-blood shed for the world to read.

I can’t help falling in love with another journal,
lined or unlined with space for sketching;
blank, dated, or headed with quotes and triggers.

I can’t help falling in love with a keyboard;
cutting, pasting, polishing, and printing in selected fonts.

I can’t help falling in love with visions of a table
stacked with a new book series for me to sign,
fans lined up outside the door and around the block.

Sales plummet, royalties are paltry, publishers merge,
doors close to unknown, un-agented authors, and yet…
I can’t help falling in love with writing, even as I hate it.
Please help me, I’m falling in love again.

In the words of punk band Chumbawamba:
I get knocked down, but I get up again.
You’re never gonna keep me down.
Like the Beatles, I get by with a little help
from my friends—the Prairie Writers group. Read More 
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