October 15, 1969: The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. A Pause for Reflection in a Polarized America.

October 15, 1969: The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. A Pause for Reflection in a Polarized America.

The anniversaries of seminal events that rocked our world fifty years ago are coming hot and heavy this fall. Today, we remember a time when we tried a reasoned strategy to attempt to deal with a generation-defining issue in a country as divided then as we are now.

By the time of the Moratorium, America had been involved in Vietnam, in one way or another, for nearly ten years. Any initial objectives for the war were long gone, the domino theory relegated back to the game it was named after, the war’s progress descended into body counts, the goal now so incrementally small that there was no big picture left or possible. Our defense secretary was telling us that if we killed more Vietnamese than they killed Americans, it was a good week. Period. The Killed in Action Numbers came out on Thursdays.

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The First Anniversary of "The Fourteenth of September:" The 50th Anniversary of Everything That’s In It 🎂

The First Anniversary of "The Fourteenth of September:" The 50th Anniversary of Everything That’s In It 🎂

It’s been a year since the publication of my debut novel, The Fourteenth of September, and I can’t believe it either. To answer so many of your questions, yes, it has done well (outperforming the average independent book, I’m told) and continues to be of interest. It’s fulfilled all my hopes and dreams, and I’m humbly grateful for the wonderful year I’ve had due to the support of many of you. I intend to continue the ride as long as it lasts, however wild. This last quarter of 2019 alone is filled with the fiftieth anniversaries of so many of the seminal events of the time that are dramatized in the novel: the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, the first Moratorium Against the War, the March on Washington, the first Draft Lottery. Their commemoration shows us how the decades can seem very long ago, and yet as short as a heartbeat, with in-your-face reverberations today.

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Audiobook of "The Fourteenth of September" Now Available: Leave the Reading to Us

Audiobook of "The Fourteenth of September" Now Available: Leave the Reading to Us

Now that I have your attention, I will fess up that the novel has been available as an audiobook via Amazon since the book launch back in September of 2018. However, since I didn’t do any specific promotion on the format, it has just been sitting around, quietly, with modest purchases by experienced audiobook fans who knew how to find it. It’s time I gave it some love.

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Coming of Conscience Scholarship Recipient Announced

Coming of Conscience Scholarship Recipient Announced

As I wrote back in February’s blog post, the Coming of Conscience Scholarship that was created in the spirit of the journey of the main character, Judy Talton, in my novel The Fourteenth of September had attracted a record-breaking 200+ applicants. The scholarship was open to all students (undergrad and graduate) at Northern Illinois University (NIU), the real-life model for the fictional university in the novel. It was designed to encourage meaningful activism and bold personal responsibility. Applicants were asked to write an essay to describe their understanding of Coming of Conscience, to share an example of a Coming of Conscience moment of their own, if possible, and, above all, to indicate their plan for how they will use their degree to help change the world. Essays were evaluated by a faculty committee established by the NIU Foundation, who chose the final recipient.

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Women’s History Month: A Matter of Standing

Women’s History Month: A Matter of Standing

Women’s History Month isn’t an anniversary I typically celebrate or to which I pay much attention. Early in my career, in fact, like so many of us, I worked hard not to differentiate. Making an issue of being a woman in the workplace seemed to underline the very differences I was trying to equate. However, as I type this, I admit to feeling ashamed of myself and that—though I’m dying to meet Gloria Steinem in real life—I hope she doesn’t inquire about the details of my feminist record. It’s there, but in my younger years I did work harder for what seemed more immediate, achievable goals, like ending the Vietnam War. I would say I don’t feel tragically ashamed, more like the descendant of a suffragette being admonished by her ancestors: “Do you realize what we went through?” I’ve always been on the right side—but not raging. I wanted my career and achievements to speak for, not themselves, but for me. I had earned that standing, regardless of gender, I felt. Looking back, after learning how hard it was to be heard, even when you did everything right—even way beyond right—I wonder what on earth I was thinking about. Why did I feel I had to prove anything?

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Thank You: The Coming of Conscience Scholarship Is Fully Funded with 200+ Applicants to Date

Thank You: The Coming of Conscience Scholarship Is Fully Funded with 200+ Applicants to Date

The tag line for my book The Fourteenth of September, which came out this fall, is “A Coming of Conscience Novel,” a designation intended to echo yet distinguish it from the typical coming of age experience. In the story, which takes place during one of the most difficult times in our country’s history—The Vietnam War—the main character, Judy Talton, is plunged into a dangerous journey of self-discovery. She ultimately makes a character-defining decision with huge ramifications for who she is and what she will become. Her dilemma parallels that of America at the time: What are we if we stay in Vietnam? Who are we if we leave?

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December 1, 1969: A Date Which Will Live in Irony

December 1, 1969: A Date Which Will Live in Irony

Forty-nine years ago tomorrow was the date of the first Vietnam Draft Lottery, the day the phrase “to win the lottery” became, not a prize, but a death sentence. It was also a marker for a generation not unlike December 7, 1941, the date of the Pearl Harbor attack, characterized by then president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a “Date Which Will Live in Infamy,” a phrase which itself featured an ironic word referring to the dark side of famous. Perhaps that’s what war does to us? Keeps us mired in subtext, unable to talk straight.

I named my debut novel The Fourteenth of September, the birth date of the Number One lottery “winner” drawn on 12/1/69—straightforward, and crystal clear. All irony upfront and intended.

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It’s PUBLICATION DAY for The Fourteenth of September: Let’s Make It Memorable

It’s PUBLICATION DAY for The Fourteenth of September: Let’s Make It Memorable

I have to admit this is an exciting day. This story’s been on a long journey—from actual experiences decades ago, to in my head for what seems even longer, to the drawn-out writing process which took twelve years, and the always bumpy road to publication. This book has gestated long enough to be a monster, and sometimes it’s felt like that. It’s more than time this baby was born. And I can’t wait to share it with you. Please help me it a success.

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