It’s a Man’s Life… or is it?

We are hearing and reading lot about of powerful men in the news these days. Our president for one, and the many men who support him. These men admire and are drawn to other men. Men with guns and men with money. Or with both. And of course, men with oil.

Then there are interruptions of that power. Angela Merkel visiting the Auschwitz death camp and reminding Germans that there is no way around that history. Our own Nancy Pelosi

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Literary Language, Interpretation and Practice

As our editors prepare to launch the latest issue of SHARK REEF, perhaps you are doing what I am doing. I’m reading the Mueller Report. Perhaps like me, you are trying to imagine what Robert Mueller and his team were thinking as they pored through thousands of documents, emails and text messages and as they engaged in countless interviews with individuals who ranged from clueless to highly incompetent. And like me, maybe you too are guessing what names and addresses, what actions and deliberations, lurk behind the black blocks marked HARM TO INVESTIGATION and GRAND JURY.

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This Issue Dedicated to Alie Smaalders
October 21, 1923 – March 12, 2018
SHARK REEF Cofounder, Writer, Literary Citizen, Mentor Extraordinaire

This is the story of how SHARK REEF came to be and of the remarkable woman, writer and friend, who modeled what it is to be a writer.
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“Writers grow on the trees on Lopez,” Alie Smaalders announced to me in our early days together in the late 1990s. It did seem true. Memory is hazy at best but in my mind’s eye, I still see fellow writer Laurie Parker and me stopping on the wooden library steps

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October 21, 1923 – March 12, 2018
SHARK REEF Cofounder, Writer, Literary Citizen, Mentor Extraordinaire "

The Winter of our (Dis)content

What better moment in our profoundly messed up time to quote Richard III? Shakespeare can really write about dysfunctional regimes. I find myself thinking about the plays that focus on the rot at the top: Richard the III of course, but also Hamlet, King Lear, and even Measure for Measure, where a predatory puritanical ruler tries to blackmail a beautiful novice into having sex with him. A lot of Shakespeare sounds familiar to me right now.

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Listen. Stories Matter.

The older I get, the more surely I understand that stories are all we have. That often the littlest stories are the ones that catch our heads and hearts.

When my son was born, I imagined it would be the big moments I’d cherish — the rolling over, crawling, walking, talking. And I do recall those things, but not as clearly as I remember tiny moments. I’ve realized, see, that he doesn’t need me to

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A Short Bit about Magic and Miracles

I think the magic of reading and writing is the startling places to which it whisks our brains and emotions, most notably the places inside ourselves that we’ve forgotten or didn’t know about in the first place.

***

I said that not long ago. I got to be part of the June 3 “Local Writers Read,” sponsored by SHARK REEF and Lopez Bookshop, and when I was asked to give a little bio and a few quotations to be used in my introduction, that’s what I said.

***

I was wrong.

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To Do Is To Be

If I have any advice, it’s to never write an intro like this at New Years.

First, intros are predisposed to summarize.

Second, New Years is downright freighted with reflections and expectations and resolutions and dejections and yearnings and lessons and dreams and hopes and failures and sins and second chances and the need to somehow box up all this, label it “last year,” and forge madly ahead.

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Taking Risks

I want to be unabashedly forthright: Jon Pearson’s “Saving Santa” is not only my favorite piece in this edition of SHARK REEF, it is my favorite piece I’ve read in a long time.

That includes taking my eighth-grade students on a six-week romp through poetry, reading essays by E.B. White, Scott Russell Sanders, Annie

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