About Me

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I have discovered that walking a very narrow path leads to broad places of peace, contentment, and provision. I work as a freelance consultant in the areas of cultural heritage, public history and museums, From 2009-2016, I was the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, (now called New France - the OTHER Colonial America, an eighteenth century French colonial historic site and National Historic Landmark.) My PhD research for the University of Leicester (United Kingdom) is in the Department of Museum Studies and looks at the interpretation of diversity at the American Historic House Museum. I also developed and facilitate an inspirational program for Christian grandparents, Gathering Grandparents.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Disciplined Writer

I wrote today - a one page promo for the historic sites in Ste. Genevieve for a group of us to pick apart and refine; rewrote parts of the edited draft of the quarterly newsletter for the Museum; wrote a bunch of emails; wrote website content; updated posts via Roost for social media sites; and created additional content in the persona of Zuts the Squirrel a.k.a (per one of my sisters) my alter ego and Museum mascot. Probably I wrote more things than that. It's a usual day so why do I think I haven't made any progress on my goal of becoming known as a writer of significant fiction? Hmmm.....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rabbi David Small

I like (and have just recently discovered) Harry Kemelman's series of "cozy" mysteries solved by Rabbi David Small by applying the methodology of a talmudic scholar. I like them because the author is more concerned about issues of faith and what it means to be an authentic practicing Jew in the New England of the 1960s than about writing a murder mystery. The mystery, always tightly composed, is incidental to the impact of the story but it serves a sneaky device that keeps the reader engaged and provokes new questions of faith and conscience along the way.

If I succeed in my life-long ambition to become known as a writer of serious fiction I will have engaged my readers around the same types of issues as Kemelman. I aim to provoke honest faith by triggering deep questions in my readers all the while providing a compelling story that doesn't let them put the Kindle down until the last page has been swiped.

Hopefully my readers will respect my characters in spite of all of their flaws as much as I respect the Rabbi.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Selective Memory

I picked up an old book by Hallie and Whit Burnett, Fiction Writer's Handbook, at the library. It starts with a preface by Norman Mailer and it's been a while since I've read a book on the craft. It is very well done - more about the philosophy behind the writing process than most books with similar titles and goals. The authors take a wide view because as the editors of Story Magazine, they had a large and diverse number of examples to choose from.

One statement matches my process in writing Pastor's Ex-Wife well: "We absorb, we sympathize, we reject, we present, it all comes from our own selective memory in the end."

And so it does in my story of how one woman, Terry Soldan, achieved enough personal courage to return to the church pastored by her ex-husband, incognito, in order to shut the door on that abusive season so that she could step into a new place emotionally.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Who's William?

There were 13 students in my kindergarten class at a Lutheran school in New York City. William was the new kid in first grade who cried when his sister was born because he already had a sister and had wanted a brother. He also threw up on my desk. We became very close friends. He gave me permission to use his name for the William of my novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife. Now he is a successful ob-gyn. The fictitious William is an elementary principal in an inner city school district. In fact he, like most everything else in the book is a fictional construct made up of three men who have loved me well: William, Mike (a real principal), and my dad - the inspiration behind the fictitious William's passion for gourmet cooking. His passion for gardening is from me. In all, William represents all the positives in contrast to Pastor Ed who is the villain.