Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Some Storytellers Get To Keep Telling Stories


Earlier this year, friend and Brother Roger E Gregory passed on. He was one of those people you meet whom you look forward to speaking with during every encounter. It wasn't just that he was friendly and usually very positive—– every time you met him he was ready to tell you a story.

Some stories were humorous, some about his wife and his family, some about his time in the Navy. It was a wide variety of tales that spanned a life that was full of wonderful experiences. Every story brought you into his history, way of thinking, and worldview. That made each story precious.

As I considered the passing of this memorable person, I decided I wanted to honor the man I'd gotten to know. Something that would not only last but contributed to the community rather than just a simple memorial. At about the same time, I'd become aware of the neighborhood free library exchange boxes. My mind quickly connected the two things. I'ld create a small lending library that would stand as an ongoing way of sharing stories with anyone who opened its door and selected a book - just like Roger.

A few weeks ago, the Little Free Library (LFL) organization granted Charter #144174 to the WB Roger E. Gregory Little Free Library. This past weekend, it was filled with books and officially became available to the public.

If you are not familiar with the free library concept: In its simplest terms, the library is a small collection of books, available to everyone 24X7X365. People are encouraged to find a book they like, then take it with them to read. After they've completed the book, they may return it in a timeframe of their choosing. Patrons of the library are also invited to keep the book permanently, if they choose, with the hope they might donate a book to replace it. There is a wide variety of literary genres and the collection includes children's books as well.

For the details about my first LFL encounter, click here. For more detailed information about how to start your own LFL, click here.    

There is a very helpful mobile app to help let you locate nearby LFL's:


Or you can use the map on the LFL website by clicking here 

Last Friday, after I finished filling the shelves of the LFL with a fresh selection of books for the first time, I reflected on how this library of two dozen tomes came to be and what it was supposed to represent. I think Roger would be pleased; of course, he wouldn't say it directly he'd do so by telling you a story.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Writing What You've Lived

I believe in America...

So begins my father's favorite novel. A story of immigrants, loyalty, family, and crime. Mario Puzo's The Godfather.

I never read the book until after I'd seen the movie, and like most books being used as the basis for a movie the richness of the story between the pages is so much better than that on-screen it deserves to be appreciated as a separate work of art. It was after reading the book that I realized my novels are written in a style similar to Puzo’s.

In the first third of the book, I bring in all the major characters along with her back stories to allow the reader to get to know each one. The second third is setting up the major action that will take place as things transition throughout the pages. The final third allows all the complex parts of the story that has been readied in the front part of the book to spring into action. The last few pages, conclude each storyline or allow for the characters to move on to the next tale. It is the type of story I like to read, and therefore the type that I create.

Eventually, I saw all three movies in The Godfather saga and was never disappointed by the story or the way it was presented. It is hard to believe that The Godfather movie came out 50 years ago. It stands up very well. Francis Ford Coppola created a masterpiece.

A streaming miniseries called The Offer that details the creation of the movie from the book recently launched. It gave me an insight into Puzo I lacked before. The story opens with him as a struggling novelist, who had just completed what he considered his strongest book ever only to find it garnering a mediocre response. When discussing the book with his wife, she suggests that he write a new novel concentrating just on the gangster parts of his flailing novel. At first, he pushes back insisting he had fought his entire life to get away from that and write the stories he wanted. Eventually, the need for a source of income pushed him into sitting down and writing what he knew, The Godfather.

Like most fortunate events, I saw this at a time when I was doing my best to avoid writing a novel that I knew had a good storyline but lacked the passion that I knew would capture readers. I mentioned before that another author asked me why I never mind the stories from my time in information technology as a source of a good story, and I didn't have a reason. The Offer instead presented me with proof of what can happen if you stop resisting the inevitable and write what you know. I liked what I saw, and CyberMortis is now in the process of becoming my fifth novel.