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In Memory of Ellen & the Adventures

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There’s a stack of papers on my desk needing my attention while I type this out – the edits on the next novel, Christian Bend (note name change, formerly Rain). When you read the book the name change will become apparent.

Twenty years ago this very day, I walked into the local newspaper office and began my first job as a reporter. It was my 40th birthday. I knew even that very day that I would always remember it as a significant life change. I had been writing already, having been prompted to take up writing when professor & poet George Venn called forth the skill dormant within. He saw it long before I even realized it was something I might enjoy doing. I consider him part wizard, actually, this ability he had to speak a gifting into life. I hadn’t known that was even possible at such a late age in life.

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On the Road Again

Last night I was cleaning up some files on my computer and came across some old photos on a flash drive I had set aside. Many of the pictures were from my last residency at the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts.

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That’s me with Martin, one of the fellas who helped run the Center.

The reason I went to Alabama to write a book was because the book I was writing – Karly Sheehan: The True Crime Story behind Karly’s Law – was a disturbing one. I did not want to write about the murder of a child in my home office. Going to Fairhope offered me the opportunity to write in complete solitude. I didn’t know but a couple of people in town at the time. And the center is located directly behind the back door of one of the most beautiful of libraries.

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An Excellent Cricket

FullSizeRender (1) When I turned 50, friends & family threw a party for me in Washington, DC. One of my dear veteran friends, Redman Flegal, who never reads any of my books, even the ones that feature him, gave me an old copy of Prince of Tides. Inside was an inscribed note from Pat Conroy wishing me Happy Birthday. Only I knew Pat and knew he didn’t write it. Redman and the other veterans make a habit of sending me notes from famous people. They taunt me that way. I sent Pat a note and told him what Red had done. Pat got such a kick out of that, he sent me a note back telling me to tell Red how much he relished that prank.

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It’s My Party

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Today is my 59th birthday. I can hardly fathom it. I feel like I’ve finally mastered some game that has granted me access to a warp zone where everything goes faster, where the Novembers seem to bump up right next to one another, where the summers get shorter and shorter, and even the winters don’t seem long enough anymore.

Does everyone come to feel that way?

For the past decade, I have spent nearly every birthday on a plane, flying from DC back to Oregon. I’ve taken one detour from that routine, to fulfill a speaking gig in Atlanta. After that gig (one in which I stood behind a platform in a swanky uptown Atlanta hotel and asked a crowd of 800 dark suits how many names of dead and wounded would be enough before they finally decided to put an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ) I swore I’d never miss another Veterans Day in DC.

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Love Gone Wrong

Congratulation to Beth Wilkes of Alabama & Dorcie Tracy of Oregon. They are the winners of Leigh Anne’s book. Thanks to all who entered. 

The wedding was perfect in every way. Lovely flowers. Lovely dress. Lovely bride.

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Their church family was there. The cousins came, too. It was a big-to-do. This wedding. This love of theirs. Jennifer’s mama and daddy couldn’t have been more proud, more happy. It is the dream of parents  who have had good marriages and even those who have had not so good marriages. That their children will grow up and find lasting love, a companion, somebody to share in the joys and the trials.

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