The family memoir, Into the Briar Patch, will soon be launched by its publisher, AuthorHouse.  Good luck, little book. Sail on.

Writing this book was both rewarding and challenging to me.

I feel satisfied that I’ve made sense in words of my own life within family and American history, as best I can. Yet I’ve often felt distressed that I have presumed to write about others, namely, my relatives and my ancestors.  So I opened the drafting process to them, and they kindly read my repeated drafts and made suggestions. They even chose to write a number of passages, at my invitation. Thank you, cousins!  This is a polyphonous work, then—it has many voices.

I really mean it when I say in the Prologue, “Readers looking for blame or praise in these pages will have to bring their own.” I am no judge, of others or of myself. My favorite passage from one of my reviewers describes the entire approach of this memoir: “to achieve not only clear-eyed understanding of the past, but also compassion for all of the (living and dead) players involved.”

As Mary Gauthier sings it so well: We could all use a little mercy now.

Another reviewer describes the style of this book: “succinct, rich language that rings in one’s ear like a wind chime gently stirred by a slow breeze.” That’s what I tried to do. This description makes me happy.

Starting now, my own feelings about my book will flow into the past.

The feelings of readers will lend the book meaning.  To all readers:  Enjoy. Take from this book whatever you like, and let the rest pass on by.