Why I Started Writing:
Like many youngsters unfettered by insecurities, I enjoyed a vivid imagination transcribed though paint and pencil. My love of the written word began in the fourth grade when our assignment was to write a letter home as if we were Revolutionary War soldiers wintering at Gettysburg. I took a humorous but dark route, succumbing to my wounds, frostbite, and hunger, but telling my mother not to worry because it’s only a flesh wound. My teacher laughed so hard she sent me next door to read my story to the other fourth grade class, and an author was born. Later as a psychologist, I enjoyed crafting assessments that accurately depicted the subject. However, it wasn’t until my son was killed, the desire to impact people through the pen welled up inside me. My story chose me.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
Through workshops, online courses, and personal discovery, I realized that writers write and good writers read. For nonfiction, Malcolm Gladwell has been particularly influential. He breaks the rules by inviting the reader into a story, and sometimes, leaves the answer unfinished. His ability to combine data in a story and personalize statistics using characters blends fiction techniques with nonfiction subject matter. For fiction, I look to Harper Lee. All criticisms aside, she managed to capture a time through the innocent eyes of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Without telling us how to live, she held up a mirror in front of all of us.
Books I Have Written:
When Sunday Smiled is my first published work. When my son Aaron died in a motorcycle accident, I found that nothing else mattered – nothing. I lived five months on the Appalachian Trail while dealing with my grief. The wilderness is the backdrop for what I found:
God’s world opened up when everything I needed was on my back and my only concern was the next white blaze.
When Sunday Smiled is a poignant tale of my journey on the Appalachian Trail as I sought to heal my wounded heart. This unique memoir is not just another adventure tale. It is a transparent view into someone who has experienced deep loss as he tries to make sense of his world. As I travel the A.T., I was confronted with how to live with others, how to relate to God, and how to live with myself. As a retired Navy Psychologist, I had a career helping others deal with death and loss but now I was faced with my own fledgling spirituality. Hiking and living on the trail with a renewed purpose provides the reader with a triumphant experience.
What I'm Working On Now:
I recognize a kinship to parents who have lost a child. We are part of a club. To that end, I find myself continuing to write to that audience as well as those who seek an authentic life in Christ. In addition to my blogging, I have written a novel that allows the reader to experience grief from several perspectives with a twist. My novel, The Dime, is currently being edited. While speaking and promoting my message, “When Sunday Smiled,” I am researching a third book, “Profiles in Grief,” which interprets the bereavement research through the chronicles of real people. My goal is to use my interviewing skills as a psychologist, my relationships with parents, and my knowledge of the research to build a bridge between the scientific literature and those who need it most.