All writers start out as readers. And that was my beginning as well.
As a very young reader, I loved picture books, and even have a couple left from those early days. But I really became a fanatic reader when I graduated to chapter books (mostly without illustrations). It was while reading a Hardy Boys mystery that it struck me–someone had to write these things. And maybe I could be like Franklin W. Dixon (the author). But I really didn’t take it to heart until I encountered the book that changed my life–The Wind in the Willows. This is the actual, tattered copy I read as a kid.
This story of Rat and Mole and Toad and Badger was, to me, magical. How could anyone conceive such a world and make it so vivid, so real? If I could do that, I’d never ask for another thing in my life.
I have been fortunate to be able to make a living as a journalist and copywriter over the years. But my goal has always been to write novels. And now I’m devoting my full attentions to it. Here you’ll see the four novels and one novella that I’ve published through Conger Road Press, plus two works of literary journalism. Hopefully, there’ll be three more books published this year. The next novella should be out by summer.
So what better way to start my first blog here than to acknowledge one of my biggest inspirations–Wind in the Willows. The chapter Dolce Domum, “Home Sweet Home”–where Mole sniffs out his abandoned abode as he and Rat are trudging through a snowstorm–is still the most exquisite piece of fiction I’ve ever read.
Well, I haven’t achieved what Kenneth Grahame did. Nor am I ever likely to. But I’ve never stopped trying.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the chapter:
The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancor. He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple—how narrow, even—it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him and the special value of some such anchorage in one’s existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.