Archive for May, 2008


Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Our seventeen-year-old daughter graduates from high school tomorrow. She’ll be launched on the path to college and adulthood. Why is that I feel as though I just graduated from high school myself? (I didn’t, believe me.) But I remember the euphoria of those days, the relief, the sense that I was free and floating and that everything ahead was a clear blue sky.

But the years that lay behind graduation, all the way back to childhood, the tumbling years of awe and confusion and excitement and friendships and breakups, were what made graduation so ecstatic. That was all behind me now, bittersweet thought though that might be.

Nothing could have been less true. Those days remain the core of me, and they continue to haunt my writing to this day.

Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Anybody who has survived childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his life.” A lot of information I got in childhood brings life to the stories I write. I don’t interpret “information” to mean facts. What I mean by information is something more radiant, richer and more mysterious.  The information I’m talking about is the feeling you get when you sail a boat by yourself for the first time.  It’s what the sky looks like just before dawn. It’s the way you feel when you are accused of doing something you didn’t. It’s what you do when your parents turn out to be something other than what you thought they were.  It’s having a great dog.

You’ll find some of this kind of information in my new novel, Seaborn. Like our daughter, it’s being launched into the world this summer. I hope you’ll read it when it’s available. Until then, I hope to share with you some more of this kind of information from time to time, mostly about books and life. But what else is there?