Good writers understand “Brevity is the soul of wit,” which means, keep it short. Add another truth, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s a wonder we all don’t write comic books. I suppose the 160,000-word novel I wrote could have been 160 pictures, but trust me, the way I draw, art museums are glad it wasn’t.
I started writing at age 11, and I’ll probably write something on the day I die. I’m like a shark who must swim or die; I have to write; it’s how I process the world and stop things from jamming up my head. Thoughts tumble around my brain, but not everything makes it to the keyboard, survives an edit, or gets submitted. Once submitted, not everything makes it into print because, thankfully, some wise publishers and editors keep writers in check.
When Twitter showed up, my daughter said, “Dad, you can rock this thing!” But, when I saw the original 140-character limit, I told her, “I’ve spent the better part of my life aspiring to write well, and I’m not cooking that down to a tweet!” During the first 40 years of my life, I wrote and received thousands of letters. If you’ve never experienced a handwritten love letter or a long letter from a dear friend, I’m telling you it is special. You can hold it in your hand, look at the way they addressed it, look at the stamp or smell the fragrance and see the writer’s emotions by their handwriting: Gosh, there’s nothing so fine.
It’s hard to imagine anyone digging into a drawer revealing a box full of love tweets.
Writing a column for a newspaper and being welcomed into the lives of readers is a privilege. Unlike the news, it’s less about “getting it right” so much as telling a story that touches a person. I always consider the reader when I write.
I try to write about things that I experience first-hand instead of recycling countless other voices. During the challenges of the past year – with too much fear, anger and anxiety – it’s been challenging to focus thoughts. I try to decrease the noise instead of amplifying it.
I started with The Chronicle in January 2020 to inform and entertain readers about all things track and field gleaned from 22 years as an official at Hayward Field. With the Olympic Trials originally scheduled for Hayward Field in 2020 and then the World Games in 2021, it was exciting until the pandemic suffocated us.
Until track returns I endeavor to enjoy what makes up life now, including long walks with Nancy and friends on logging roads, watching trees grow, catching sight of diminishing wildlife, and the Witch Hazel and Daphne plants in our yard that tell me spring is near!
Finally, we’re dealing with serious health situations in our family. I won’t go into the details other than to say we’re not the first, and we won’t be the last to face it. We’ve been humbled by the outpouring of love and support, including our friends at The Chronicle.
These words came to me a few weeks ago from a friend in Texas: “I know how life-changing a serious health scare can be!!! It does put things into perspective and makes you really rethink what is really important in your life. Family and friends are all that matters. I often think of what my mother said once, ‘If the Lord didn’t think you could handle the rough spots, he would not have given them to you!’
“So, keep the faith and know we are all here to help in any way at any time … that’s what real friends do!”
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