tom-hallman-writing

A week ago today I turned 60.

As expected, I’ve been thinking about the past, the present and the future.

On Saturday morning, I took a phone call from a 21-year-old reporter who wanted advice. From Wisconsin, she’s started work at her first paper after graduating from college. She talked about the kind of stories she wants to pursue, what she wants to work on and the doubts she grapples with. That night, I learned that a friend of mine, a once vibrant woman, now has Alzheimer’s and is in a care center.

Bookends.

What does that mean for me?

And for you?

The answer – as so often happens to me – comes in two songs:

“Time Waits for No One,” by the Rolling Stones:

And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me
And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me

Time can tear down a building, or destroy a woman’s face
Hours are like diamonds, don’t let them waste

And “Not Dark Yet,” by Bob Dylan.

Shadows are falling and I been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep and time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t let me heal.

We put off those creative projects because we figure we will start next week, next month, next year.

Life doesn’t work that way.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine told me she wanted to write her story to give to her family. Her husband, a surgeon, divorced her when she learned she had breast cancer. She moved to Portland – not knowing a single person – to rebuild her shattered life. I met her, and over time, learned her story and learned why she wanted to write it for her three sons.

And then she died.

The story was never written.

Write your story.

Take the photographs.

Craft the poem

Whatever calls to you, do it.

In coming weeks, I plan to feature the work, and dreams, of people doing just that.

Keep in touch.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Sheri Anderson says:

    Very good.

  2. This is the second version of this particular idea that has presented itself today, the first being a story from my neighbor about how he was burned out on his career at 45 and made a major life move. Now he’s 60 and told me that is the best advice he could give me. “We’re not getting any younger,” he said. “But you’re at the right time to do that thing you’ve always been thinking about.”

  3. Just finished Sam.
    Retired high school English teacher now teaching reading part time in adult ed and part time GED at Brevard County Jail.
    Read your blog quoting Dylan and Stones; the writing’s spirit reminded me of Dylan’s Grain of Sand song.
    I have students’ put significant passages in their readings in a log; we discuss these logs daily. I have done the same for years as well as underlining and margin noting my personal books.

    I note two of the passages from 186 and 192: “parents are influenced by the way facts are presented” and “message [from the upper brain] through the compromised stem and out through the nerves.”

    My thoughts and writings are currently puzzling a path through the ideas of our molecular structure and our electrical structure. I draw on Dr Seldon’s thoughts in The Body Electric and Malcolm Gladwell’s writings that were underlined by your comment on page 193 about the human coming out of a couple of cells in another human. I greet my molecules each day recognizing the drive that directs them to work together as “G-d.” I was mesmerized by Dr. Wehby’s journey with Sam, with her intuitive strength that she connected with as de Becker talked about it in The Gift of Fear.

    Thanks for a fine story. The book was donated to the class/school by Friends of the Library as educators were allowed to paw through and take unsold books for classrooms. Serendipity. One of my favorite words.

    I like your website. Best wishes.

    Kit

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