Writing is something I do because I must. I began by writing history nearly 40 years ago and wrote regularly for nearly 15 years. Then I stopped publishing, focusing instead on my work as an advocate, and parent. Now retired, I return to writing as a way to stay in touch with the world.
Writing is a generous act. We think of a reader or readers, and then put pen to paper to draw forth what lies within, and then offer it to others in the hope it helps them draw on something hidden. As a writer and a reader, I want literature and history to transport if not transform me – if only for a few hours.
History is a highly useful branch of literature – much abused but useful – to those with compassion for the human endeavor in is glory and folly. Written history frames a perspective, locates one in time and place, and expands the imagination. A sense of history creates contexts and frameworks for making sense of the past and charting a course into the future.
A writer must be able to stand in another’s shoes, or imagine another’s life. This capacity for imaginative impersonation is also the skill of historians and advocates. Connecting to others is the first principle of advocacy, understanding history, and the way to change minds, build alliances. This stance is a prerequisite before the first word is written or spoken.
I look forward to picking up the vocation I set aside. My current project is a memoir about personal transformation in the course of becoming bilingual in Spanish in my mid-60s. If nothing else, we remain malleable, and it is never too late to start anew.