Friday, May 5, 2017

Latest Literary Efforts

This blog is now nearly seven years old. It feels like it was begun just yesterday.

In fact, it was started back in 2010, shortly after I had moved into a "new" house, a small, comfortable, one-story home where I planned to live out the rest of my life, that is, until I could no longer care for myself.

I had just returned from a final, "bucket-list" odyssey, zig-zagging around Europe from England (primarily to visit the British Museum) to Germany (to see my daughter and her family), to Switzerland (to see a former colleague), to Italy (to visit family of a former foreign-exchange student), to Southern France (for a wonderful organ tour), and on to Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, and Finland (on a commercial tour) before returning--exhausted but content--to the US via Heathrow.

That trip is chronicled on this blog in entries written over the course of nearly five years, the first one in February, 2012. The last entry was only uploaded in August of last year (2016). It's hard to believe it took so long to blog that trip! Russia Revisited, a book about part of that odyssey, to Ukraine and Russia, was published just last year.

The whole process slowed considerably in 2015 when I became quite ill. This was a wake-up call. I realized I needed to finish organizing my life - and writing the rest of what I wanted to share with others - before it became impossible. At my age, both body and mind are walking time-bombs, which could go off at any moment.

My current goal is to collect, edit, and publish most of the literary writing I've done over the past half century. This includes fiction (mostly short stories) and nonfiction (mostly travel writing), as well as some poetry and essays.

So I've been furiously culling and sorting a lot of stuff stored in boxes and on hard drives. From this material, about eight books are in various stages of completion. I hope my breath lasts long enough to finish most of them.

Two of those books will be coming out soon. A book of short stories, Speaking with Strangers, should interest readers who enjoy literary fiction. I just recently received a cover photo for that one (left). It's an eclectic collection of short fiction with the theme of revelations that occur during unplanned encounters with those we don't know or don't understand, including ourselves. The poignancy of each story arises from the flash of understanding, sometimes tempered with despair, that at may be triggered by such chance interactions.

The other book, an autobiography with the title, Saving My Life, offers highlights from before I remember to the recent past. It begins sequentially from childhood through college years, as pieced together from memory, journals, and photo albums. Those initial chapters are followed by chapters exploring specific themes that have woven themselves through my adult life: nature, science, love, children, illnesses, and travel. The book includes appendices that are likely to be of interest primarily to family and close friends. The cover image for that book is on the right.

When these books are available, I'll provide the relevant links to Amazon and/or the publishers' websites.

Hope you've enjoyed reading the blog posts on this site. They're not finished yet. Nor is my life.