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Play Your Own Tune

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in Musings | 0 comments

Play Your Own Tune

Recently I had the honor of addressing a roomful of people interested in writing. As part of the address, I talked about the novelist Frederick Manfred, an excerpt of which follows. It’s been several years since Frederick Manfred died, and I for one still mourn his passing. Author of the classic Lord Grizzly and 31 other novels, Manfred was a Minnesota legend. In his youth he moved to New York City with dreams of literary fame and fortune. The wisdom of the time said you had to live in the Big Apple in order to succeed. But Manfred...

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Don’t They Know?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Musings | 1 comment

Don’t They Know?

Some months ago grandson Jack, then 7, asked me to tell him something about “the old days.” When I asked him what he meant by that, he said, “You know. Something old-fashioned. When things were different than they are now.” Casting about for a recollection that might fit the bill, I hit upon the winter a friend and I spent horse logging, cutting firewood off a Potlatch permit and skidding the trees with a horse named Maude, a Belgian mare that weighed some 1500 pounds. Jack listened, spellbound, as I described the snarl of the chainsaws and...

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Character and Fate

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Musings | 0 comments

Character and Fate

When I was a callow young fellow and knew a lot more than I know now, someone told me that character and fate were pretty much the same thing. Instead of fate crashing down on you from the outside, it supposedly grew from within the seeds of your own character. Naturally, I scoffed at that. What young person wouldn’t? It seemed absurd. Fate was something that befell you; good or bad, it simply happened, like getting the mumps or winning a lottery. But I have come to change my view, and find myself increasingly in sympathy with the...

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Night Thoughts

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Musings | 0 comments

Night Thoughts

The other day a friend called to tell us of the death of a mutual acquaintance, and that night I had difficulty sleeping. Over the past year a number of close friends have passed away, and each time my mind rebels at accepting the fact of their disappearance. This prospect of oblivion is, I think, the one aspect of living that unnerves me most. I understand that in the end we each succumb, and that pain or decay or the loss of dignity may undo even the strongest will to live. But the thought of simply fading to nothing, of all memory of your...

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A Pretty Good Life

Posted by on Jun 15, 2014 in Musings | 2 comments

A Pretty Good Life

At a recent family get-together, talk turned to memories of Dad. As usual, the memories proved refreshing, and made us measure our own lives against the long arc of his. Pops made it to the age of 91 and died in the spring of 2002. Had he lived until August of that year, he and Mom would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. Born in Chicago in 1910, Dad lived through many changes. Blessed from birth with an eye for detail and a voluminous memory, he often enchanted family and friends with stories of times gone by: begging chips of...

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