Help Wanted: Radicals

No experience necessary.
Must know in your heart
what is right and what
is not.
Must be courageous, honest
and peaceful on the treacherous
road to peace and freedom.
Must be willing to work with others.
Little or no pay.
Song writers and other writers will
do well in this position.
Possibility of going to jail and
alienating friends and family.
Everyone may apply.
While driving around town this morning, I heard on the radio that Tom Hayden died.
That news hit me big time – deep in my gut – in the depths of my soul. To me, Hayden was a courageous activist who never shied away from doing and saying what he knew was the right thing. He took on the fight for humanity. It wasn’t a selfish this-is-just-for-me thing to do.
I bow my head to you, Tom Hayden, a hero among us, though I’m sure you would never claim that title. Thank you, you counter culture radical, you lawmaker you, for everything you and your comrades spearheaded on behalf of peace and humankind. The work you did, what was accomplished, and what wasn’t, the times I remember, all the efforts we each made – it all brings me close to tears.
A few days ago, there was a picture  making the rounds on Facebook. An empty bench in a garden setting, if I remember correctly. It included a question in the form of a prompt asking the reader with whom we’d like to sit and talk for an hour.
Bob Dylan and Tom Hayden. Now that is a conversation in which I’d like to take part. Though I guess, really, I did, in one way or another.
A sad day, today, a day in which I’d also like to point out how many of my friends, family, peers and colleagues are just as determined and outspoken in what is right and wrong, what steps we ought to take on the path to freedom. I salute you all.
I think Tom does, too.

Write On!

We writers, all of us, and our readers, sometimes take our words for granted. If I know one thing, I know how much our words matter. Each and every word, whether it’s surrounded by thousands of others in a book, or part of 140 characters in a tweet. Our words have the power to show our love and air our disdain. Our words can touch the hearts of strangers everywhere. They can bring loved ones closer. The words we choose to put on paper can drive a wedge, dig a hole, or take us to the moon.


I hope this week you’ll choose to write something to make a difference. It’s your choice, and mine. We can write in a journal, we can write a letter, yes, a real letter to someone. We could send a birthday card with our own words of life inscribed with our signature. We could post a new blog, follow our friends, like them, and make our own comments on Facebook.

We have the power. We have the heart. Honor that writer inside you. Don’t let your muse hide out any longer.

As the master once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  Look at what he did. Listen to Bob Dylan, our newest Nobel Laureate. Go ahead, write a song.

Pen to paper, fingertips to screen, or clickety clack on your keyboard.

Do it today, do it this week. Write again next week. And the one after.

If you’re really serious — and courageous — you’ll share those words inside your heart.

I bet you’ll be glad you did.

Where I live in Napa, California, we are celebrating Napa Writers Week. In the rest of the state, it’s California Writers week. The state’s yearly commemoration came about many years ago through the efforts of a few eager California Writers Club folks and their contacts in the CA state legislature.

This week is Napa’s first Napa Writers Week, thanks to the commitment of our County Board of Supervisors. On behalf of our Napa Valley Writers and all the writers in the community, I took the idea to my district supervisor. He was all for it. And there we go. Napa Writers Week. You could do the same where you live. It’s a fabulous way to honor the writers in your community, including yourself. This coming Saturday, our indie bookstore is hosting a local celebration of local authors at Napa Bookmine.




Every once in a while, when I’m out somewhere, I look up to see somebody – someone I love and miss – walking across the park or a parking lot or a street somewhere.

My heart skips a beat, or three.

I take a second look, knowing that person can’t possibly be in front of me. B

ut that moment… it stays with me.


Does it happen to you, too?