April of 2017
I’ve been negligent again. When I developed this website I fully intended to ‘blog’ on a regular basis. Obviously, of late I have had ‘too many moving pieces’ in my life. Last fall I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, in December I had surgery, since then my lengthy recovery. There is some measure of truth in the adage ‘life is diapers to diapers’. It wasn’t until February that I returned to writing– clearly the best therapy for me. I had familiar characters and locals but no story. Yet I had to write so I started with Father Mickey wondering about the routine of his life one December Monday morning. After a few hundred words I began to feel a traction and hours literally flew. I’ve been at the story–if it is a story–for three to five hours nearly every day. Yesterday my last two words were ‘The End’–that after nearly 100,000 words. Now begins the tedious ‘rewrite’ process where I hope to make certain that the transitions work and story’s chronology and consistency are as they should be. I’m not going to worry myself about perfect punctuation . . . that I’ll leave for an English teacher. I hope to have a near-finished project by mid-May and, after that, pass it on to my preliminary readers.
Also, I turned 75 in March and I’m tiring of the ‘business’ of writing. I’ve come to accept that I’ll never write the great American novel, nor aspire to find my name and title on a New York Times ‘best-seller’ list, or win any literary awards . . . Kent Krueger, John Sanford, and other Minnesota writers can, and do, just that. I’ve resigned myself to the reality of being simply a regional author with readers who are, for the most part, folks I see in my every-day-live in Hibbing. And I’m perfectly content with that. I net enough money from each book to publish my next one–and I have that. So, hopefully, by November I’ll have a book titled ‘TWELVE’ on the bookshelves of Patty Shafer’s gift ship, The Mulberry Bush.
As many of you know by now, I have been wintering in Naples, Florida. Not only do I love the sunshine, but I have family here and they are a big part of my being here. My daughter has, for years now, been involved in the aftermath of a very contentious divorce. If I can in any small way alleviate some of the stress in her life, and that of her kids, I am close by. But soon, I’ll be coming home. It’s April 9th, Passion Sunday, and my plan is to leave for Hibbing on the 26th–seventeen days from this Sunday. I have one more doctor’s appointment, and one speaking event, to wind up my business here. I’m a tad homesick after five months away. I hope to find the ice out from the lakes and green grass in my yard . . . my son in Cohassett assures me that both are guaranteed. I’ve enjoyed company from home over my time here. Gail came down for several days in late February, Shannon and Cali (daughter and granddaughter) were here over Christmas, and my high school friend, Dick Nierengarten arrived in mid-March.
Something unrelated to that above is weighing heavily on my mind as I write this blog. I wrongfully and publicly defended a Catholic priest from youth in Hoyt Lakes. In so doing, I defamed an old high school friend with nasty allegations. I have since learned that I was wrong. I apologize to you, Patty Beissel Helms, in this blog and intend to do so personally when I get back. I hope you can forgive me as I try to forgive Father Stack for the pain he caused. I do not think any of this would have happened if the Duluth Diocese had been open or honest with me in the first place.
I want to end on a more positive note or two. My Twins are about to go 5-1 to open the season. I’ve been waiting for this team to reach its potential for the past two years. Maybe the playoffs are a realistic expectation? More importantly, in one week we will celebrate what is the essence of Christianity around the world–the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I want to wish each of you the happiest of Easters.