WELCOME to my first attempt at blogging. Before I say anything else, I want to give credit for this amazing photograph to Paul Bogart. You may not be able to make out the details, but the bird is a loon, the time is just past dawn, and the place is South Pond, Vermont. I’m pretty sure Paul was in a canoe when he pointed his camera and caught this perfect moment.
Swimming with words is one of my favorite ways of describing what I do, and it happens also to be true that some important words have found me while I was swimming in this very pond — especially the phrase “Begin Again,” which became an important motif in my second novel BLUE NUDE. So, Paul’s magical photo feels like a particularly good place to start something new.
It’s Monday afternoon, I’m at the kitchen counter of my home in Berkeley, and I’m waiting to see what the light is going to decide to do before calling it quits for the day. The usual summer fog hasn’t burned off at all. Earlier, when I was out walking my dog Lulu, I looked up into the sky and saw a vaguely luminous disc revealing itself behind the veil of gray. It reminded me of the first time I flew on a plane and noticed that once we rose high enough to get above the stormy layer of clouds, we discovered a brilliant blue sky and dazzling sun. I wrote this phrase in my journal that day: Above the clouds, the sun is always shining.
That was the day I began my journey to spend a year as a Rotary Exchange Student in The Philippines. It was sometime in August 1976, and I was sixteen years old. Now it’s August 2014, and I’m fifty-four. Somewhere above the clouds, the sun is still shining.