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Showing posts from August, 2013

Everything I need to know I learned in pathology: A tribute to Bob Rohner, MD

My entire life has been a quest to get educated, beginning in kindergarten (where my skills at napping were unparalleled) and right on through the CME (continuing medical education) course I took last week on mosquito-borne illnesses (sounds fascinating, right?). Along the way, I have had the pleasure of having many excellent teachers, and I dedicate this post to Bob Rohner, who taught human pathology at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY for 40+ years (and he did it with panache!) Now that I have taken up the pen, I spend a lot of time thinking about the great communicators with whom I have crossed paths, and I ask myself what it is/was about her/him that made he/she such an effective communicator. Why? Because if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. And also because writing and teaching are really about communication. If I want to write/communicate better, then study the people who could communicate/teach. Bob Rohner was such a teacher, and after some thought, I have

Making things happen vs. letting things happen: Another example of life imitating golf.

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Everyone has a bias, and I think it is always best to state one's bias right from the word Go--so here it is: I am a golfer, and this flavors how I think about life. What am I talking about? It's straightforward, really. A golfer can NOT make things happen. (Don't believe me? Ask Tiger Woods, who has NEVER come from behind to win a major championship. Every time Tiger tees off not in the lead, NEEDING to make something happen, the only thing that happens is a collection of poor shots, missed putts, and blown chances.) Why am I telling you this? Because I am also a writer, one on the cusp of getting his first novel published. But as I stand on the cusp, teetering back and forth like Humpty Dumpty, I feel like I need to make something happen, to do or write something that will move me into the current. And that's where the aforementioned problem comes in--it goes against my (golfing) nature to force something. If you set out to birdie a hole, you'll more likely

Upcoming Writers Digest Webinar August 26-29 on submitting your manuscript

Just a quick post for those of you out there who have completed a manuscript and want to submit it to an agent. My literary agent and her entire agency are doing a Webinar August 26-29, on how to make your submission stand out among the hundreds agents get every month. Check out the specifics on the agency website HERE . If you haven't had a chance to get to a conference yet, this is an excellent chance to get the same insider information without travel and hotel costs. Ciao.

Nothing that goes right will ever make a good story! #misadventuresarememorable

It occurred to me last night as my brothers and sisters and cousins were sitting around after dinner, retelling all the old stories we have retold for years and years: There is a commonality to every good story, and that commonality is "Nothing that goes right will ever make a good story." Allow me to give an example. Ten years ago my family and I went hiking at High Point Park in Northern Jersey, with my brother Eric and his wife. It was a sunny Good Saturday in April, and we were enjoying the warm air after a cold winter. The group spread out as groups do on a hike, and the kids went charging ahead as kids do. But I wasn't worried, because we were experienced hikers from VT, and there wasn't anything in NJ that was going to phase us Vermonters (even my boys, who were 7 and 9.) Well, we made it to the top and tried to gather everyone for a photo--with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop--when we realized my seven-year-old wasn't there. Apparently he had lagge

Thirty-two years after.

My seventeen-year-old son and I were sitting in the admissions office of Holy Cross College last week when it hit me: it was thirty-two years to the day when my father had escorted me there for my own interview. It was the summer of 1981 and we were on our way to Cape Cod for a week's vacation and a visit with my sister who had been working in Hyannis for the season. My father had asked me several months previously if I had wanted to visit Holy Cross College on the way, but I had dismissed the idea without consideration. I was seventeen-years-old, and the prospect of following in my father's footsteps at Holy Cross hadn't appealed to me. Since he hadn't brought the subject up again, I had thought the matter had been dropped until I woke up from a nap and found us parked on the side of a steep street lined with tall trees. "Where are we?" I yawned. "Holy Cross College," my father replied. "I thought you might want to stretch your legs for a bit.&