Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Things

1. I have a brother who’s a fighter pilot, a brother who’s the stadium voice of the Colts, a sister who does work for Special Olympics and raises cool kids, a brother who’s an actor, and a brother who builds things and has the nicest house of us all.

2. I have a total of 249 skydives. On jump number 79, I had a malfunction that required me to chop away my main and ride down on my reserve. From my logbook: “I was scared – but not panicky. I was placing my faith (& my life) in that GQ Security X210R reserve chute. Seeing that white reserve canopy blossoming over my head was one of the most beautiful sights ever. When I landed, I ran over and grabbed Mark [[the rigger who’d packed my reserve]], kissed him square on the mouth, then went out and bought him a case of Bud Dry.”

3. I was born in Wisconsin, and we moved from there when I was very young. I have very little recollection of Janesville, so I must find some other excuse for my abiding love of cheese.

4. My mom has been a fan of Dennis Kucinich, went to DC to work for Ralph Nader, and did all the get-out-the-vote stuff that qualifies her as a dedicated Obamaphile. How she gave birth to six staunch conservatives remains a mystery.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Aisle Lighting

I handed Laura a copy of her own first novel and she asked, “Do you have books?”

My thought was, “Sure I do. There’s a big stack on my nightstand, several in the back of my car, many shelves of… wait…. She wouldn’t be asking THAT! What was the question?”
“I beg your pardon?” I said.

“Have you published?” she asked. “Have you published books?”

“Oh, I see. I’ve published some things. Not books," I said. "Not yet.”
A book-signing is a fine way to spend a cold January afternoon. Hearing a visiting writer talk about her books, her background, her practice.

As a reader, I’d always known the sensation of the room melting away when being absorbed, enfolded, into a well-told story. As a writer, I know the feeling of having written something true, wondering “where did that come from?” and feeling a pulse of something that's probably an endorphin, but feels like spirit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My first real-live writing gig came from Hank Nuwer, then editor at "Arts Indiana" magazine. Hank agreed to let this beginning writer do a piece on four Indiana artists and the person each considered to be their most important mentor. The headliner in Hank's quartet was Maestro Raymond Leppard, conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Eras can be labeled "BC", Before Christ, or "AD" for Anno Domini. This particular point in the sweep of time might have been called "BG," as in "Before Google."