Many years ago, when I was first starting out in this writing game—I’d published stories in some pretty good places and I’d even been able to publish a collection with a new independent publisher—my agent was sending around my first novel. One day, she called with the good news that a very senior editor at…

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Many years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas, where I was living at the time, to my native southeastern Illinois for the Christmas holidays. I was in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas at the time, and we were on semester break. The drive took ten hours,…

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I turned sixty-five on Friday, and it was a good day. I’d be lying if I said I never thought about the dwindling number of years left without a certain degree of apprehension, but for the most part I do my best to keep my focus on the here-and-now which still contains plenty that delights…

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Our friends, G. and S., came to visit last night. At one time, this would have been such a simple statement to make; on the surface it might have even seemed banal. These days, though, the ordinary fact of a visit carries with it a significance only available if one knows the context. Sometime in…

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My web designer, Steve Bennett of AuthorBytes, has started an online journal called The Pandemic Lens (https://pandemiclens.com/). It began in June when Steve ventured out with his camera to take some outdoor shots in Somerville, MA. It was the first time he’d taken an outdoor photo in four months. Eventually he came to recognize that…

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One of my favorite stories is Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing.” This is the story of a couple, Ann and Howard Weiss, whose son, Scotty, on the morning of his eighth birthday, steps off a curb and gets hit by a car. He falls, striking his head, but he gets up and seems to…

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On Labor Day, I like to give thanks for the fact that I’m able to spend a good portion of my time moving words about on the page. When I left college between my junior and senior year, I worked for a year and a half in the press room at a tire repairs manufacturing…

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Today, as I was nearing the five-mile mark of my run, a woman yelled out at me, “Step it up! Step it up!” Of course, I know this was just good-natured joshing, but on this morning, when I was feeling every bit of my almost 65 years, it was the last thing I needed to…

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Last week, I went pretty much off the grid in my native southeastern Illinois. One of my joys was running or walking at Red Hills State Park, just outside the small town where I grew up. Aptly named, the park has a beautiful lake surrounded by rolling hills. Accustomed to running and walking the flatlands…

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When I was an only child growing up on a farm in southeastern Illinois, my closest friend was often our television set. I’d watch anything—sitcoms, westerns, game shows, talk shows, children’s shows, even a soap opera from time to time. I disappeared into whatever happened to be on, caught up sometimes by the stories, sometimes…

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