NEWS & UPDATES
In early March 2023, I led a chat room discussion for the North Oaks Book Club. The presentation dealt with my experience writing short stories, both inspiration and craft. The group members are active readers but, so far as I know, none has tried a hand at short story writing. The participants used several of my stories as a focus for discussion. They displayed lively interest and asked good questions. Who knows, maybe one or two of them will be inspired to produce some stories of their own.
2022: LOOKING FORWARD
Off we go. I am delighted to launch the New Year with this upgraded website. I appreciate the technology that makes it possible. I hope you do, too.
My Navy and Foreign Service years continue to provide a rich resource of story-telling material. This is especially true because more than twenty of those years were spent abroad. Involvement with and, sometimes, immersion in foreign societies have provided useful insights into what makes us human. Exploring those foreign experiences through writing has been personally rewarding.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of editing a brief memoir by a Hiroshima survivor. Later, I edited a memoir by a friend who fled Nazi Germany as a child and came of age in the newly emergent state of Israel. And recently my book club drew on one of my stories as background material for consideration of a book on the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. None of these endeavors had to do with publication or numbers of readers. But they do make writing a rewarding pursuit.
Three new stories are now up on the site. And another one is just over the horizon. In March, I will share selected stories and discuss the business of writing with members of a community book group. Diminished freedom, our mortality, loss of identity, the role of science and more, all in the context of the Pandemic, provide starting points for discussion.
The Write Launch excerpt on the site is drawn from my draft novel, Only the Moon Remains. The story line of this book is: can a young American doctor overcome a centuries-old tradition and hostile 1930’s society to rescue a Japanese girl from a life of involuntary prostitution? In the telling, it becomes a story of choices and individual will pitted against the fatalistic Japanese notion of that’s just the way life is. It is also the story of an Asian journey, one freighted with intercultural and political implications. Looking for an agent.
In addition, I have a novella, Well, So Long, dealing with the relationship between an American guard and a Japanese internee from Peru held in a Texas camp. I also have a collection of Foreign Service stories, Tyranny of the Skirt, ready to go. Both novella and collection are looking for a home. And as always, I have several stories under consideration by literary magazines. They range from a consideration of the consequences of “dangerous thought” in 1930’s Japan to an unsolved mystery of a lost child in the Minnesota woods.
Thanks for taking time to read my work and, as always, appreciate any comments you might share.
DARTMOUTH ALUMNI MAGAZINE
You may not realize how lucky you are to read this column every issue. For some reason, the Class Secretaries Association has given it top billing in its latest ratings. Merit suggests the notes by my Phi Delt brother John Cusick ’57 (above) are far more deserving. But at this point in life, we’ll take any kudos that come our way.
The virus has depleted my inbox, with a few exceptions. One that’s specially Class Notes-worthy comes from Larry Farrar’s daughter, Sabrina Nelson ’92, who volunteers to “toot my dad’s horn.” Larry, it seems, after careers in the naval and diplomatic services, is devoting his golden years to writing short stories, 80 so far. Meant to be read at one sitting, Larry’s stories are so well-crafted they can be read in almost no time at all. See for yourself at www.northoakswriter.com.