Give me this day a focus of mind, a love of the word, a willingness to try to understand those who confound me, a patience with my own shortcomings, a forgiveness for every time I didn’t write as well as I might have, compassion from those I’ve hurt, tolerance for those who have offended me.…

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  Painted in white letters on a lane of the high school track where I sometimes run or walk is the word, “Finish.” Each time I passed it on Father’s Day this year, I thought of how my own father made sure I understood the importance of completing what I started. I know I’ve told…

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I recently had the pleasure of teaching at a writers’ retreat sponsored by The Sun Magazine in North Carolina, and I came away with what I always do when I’m a part of such groups: a reinforced belief in the power of the written word. Not that I ever doubted—I’ve always believed that writing is…

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