I have been working very hard on five additional chapters for “THE OTHER SIDE OF TOMORROW”. I began writing it in 1992 as six short stories for Ken Atchity’s writing group. His clients would meet once a week and read and discuss their writings. My good friend, Millie Myers, was one of Ken’s clients. Her husband Art had a heart attack and could not make the weekly drive with her to Los Angeles so I agreed to drive her. At the first session at Ken’s apartment he told me that I would have to wait down stairs in the lobby unless I was writing and presenting. So, I agreed to write a short story, and he allow me to join the group.
Millie had always seen me as a writer/storyteller, but it was Ken’s encouragement, teaching, and belief in me that transitioned me into a writer. I wrote, over a period of several months, six short stories. Ken helped me to fashion them into a novel which I originally called “A PILLAR OF SALT”. It was my looking back. Most of the stories evolved out of my growing up on Church Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and stories I had heard from my father, a great story teller, and my mother, a story creator. As a child I did not see the beauty in Church Street and the people who made it such a vibrant stimulating place. I ran away from Church Street when my brother, Jerry, died while in the Marines in California. There were so many emotions then that I still can’t comprehend what took me away. I had read a lot of good books, and my life was as much fantasy in my mind as the actuality of my existence.
I had neither heard of nor read Wallace Stegner at the point in my life when I discovered that I wanted most of all to be a writer. It was Ken Atchity who introduced me to his great books and stories. The greatest of which to me was “CROSSING TO SAFETY”. You cannot write even a little unless you read a lot, and you cannot write at all unless you do as Ken said, write with schedule, purpose, and passion.
So here I am, 22 years down the road rewriting “A PILLAR OF SALT”, and finding that I have over the years changed in subtle ways. I began by writing about duplicity, mendacity, lies. I now believe that the great important thing is to try to understand and write about truth, love, and friendship. I having spent most of my like telling “The Irish Truth” and spinning stories out of my imagination and I find it very hard to deal with hard edged truth.