Between the Lines
I was born in a friendly town nestled in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, the second of four children to a father who relished philosophy, knowledge and history, and a mother who embodied grace and kindness.
Our home was filled with laughter and love, and friendships that had been determined by fate grew steadily and stronger as the years passed.
My interest in writing began at an early age and was nurtured by my parents. Throughout the years, I've penned hundreds of poems, short stories, plays and books. Some have seen the light of day, some have not.
But it never mattered.
Most writers will tell you: There are times when you sit down to write and nothing comes, and then there are times when you feel as if you're standing on the bank of a placid river that suddenly swells. The earth gives way beneath your feet and you are overtaken by the sheer force of it all. The only thing you can do is enjoy the ride — and write.
The first hint of my career as a writer came during Richard Nixon's second presidential campaign, which included a stop in my hometown. My parents, both of whom were involved in local politics, made their way to the airport, the four of us in tow.
As they waited patiently for word that the president was making his way to the podium, I noticed a herd of reporters begin to stir, then bolt.
I wriggled free from my mother's hand and took chase. There was a lot of jostling for position, but I was lost in a forest of pants legs. I never saw the president.
As I made my way back to rejoin my family, I saw the president's daughter, Tricia, bend down to take a flower from my younger sister's hand. I watched as Tricia kissed her on the cheek, flashed her angelic smile, and brushed a strand of hair from my sister's face before being led away by Secret Service.
I learned then: The obvious story is not always the story worth pursuing.