word craft


The best of years to come

the letter CHere we are at that rolling time of the year when we are besieged by lists of the best, the ten best, the hun­dred best. But in these covid years—and alas, it is plural—the best is to still be here, and to bless that fact, and share it with those we love. 

For writ­ers, among those we love, are those we nev­er see or hear from, indeed, know lit­tle about, our read­ers. Yet, they sus­tain us, both spir­i­tu­al­ly and mate­ri­al­ly. We writ­ers are inven­tors and tellers of sto­ries and hope those sto­ries mean some­thing to others. 

Why do writ­ers tell sto­ries? I think it’s to make sense of the world, their world, and their read­ers’ world. My favorite metaphor for writ­ers comes from the late Don­ald Hall, poet, writer, for­mer poet laureate. 

I am sure I set it down before, but I think it’s worth repeat­ing. He said, 

“The writer’s job is to write what is rather like the let­ter O. But he/she writes the let­ter C—with a gap. If that gap is too wide the read­er can­not bridge it. If it is too close, there is no need for the read­er to do any­thing. But if that gap is just right, the read­er fills it with her/his own expe­ri­ence and the writer’s cir­cle is complete.” 

To all of you who help fill my gaps (and even those that don’t), here’s wish­ing you a joy­ful hol­i­day and the best of years to come. 



3 thoughts on “The best of years to come”

  1. Agreed…the BEST is to still be here, mak­ing new mem­o­ries with those we love. Thank you for allow­ing your read­ers the gift of “bridg­ing the gap” between what’s on the page and what’s in their heart/imagination. You are lit­er­ary roy­al­ty in my class­room and home because of your gifts of mak­ing sto­ries come to life and encour­ag­ing read­ers to think. Wish­ing you a true hol­i­day from your writ­ing to make new mem­o­ries with those you love!

  2. My son and I dis­cov­ered your books dur­ing the vivid lock­down. We have read sev­er­al and aim to read them all. Thank you for build­ing a bridge for me and my 12 year old to enjoy togeth­er when it feels like there is so much try­ing to keep us apart. Hap­py New Year


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