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A van passed by my house every now and then, and from it flies a newspaper I never read.  The beat up van is piloted by an older woman, and the thrower of the newspaper is, I have to believe, her son.  He is balding, scrawny, and wearing BCGs (birth control glasses in military parlance).  What do I witness when I see these two pass by?  A failure to launch?  Some kind of curious brokenness?  An inability or refusal to fall in step?  Perhaps it is only a mother who won't abandon her child come age, come failure, come what may.
Route 62 from Irvine to Tidioute was a head-shaker of a road: tight, curvy, dark in all the wrong spots -- a wicked stretch between the foothills and the river.  Peterson had this blue hatchback, and there we were, tooling down the road, speakers blaring Metallica or Nirvana or some such angst.  The doe, of course, appeared out of nowhere, and we clipped her good, dented the hood even, so Peterson braked hard and skidded to a stop.  We found her in the brush beyond the weeds, hunkered low, legs folded in, and breathing hard.
"What the heck," one of us said then stared some more at the loss until Peterson said, "Tire iron."
"What?"
"She's hurt.  We need to be merciful."
A few years back, my uncle stood with my cousin and me on the banks of the Brokenstraw Creek that ran through Youngsville.  He advised us to fish for trout in the bend where it gets deep.  He had given us similar advice before, but what struck me was how he punctuated his advice.  "You boys oughta float some night crawlers where the riffles begin to even out."  Boys.  There I was a thirty-something man with three kids so appreciative to be called a boy.
When my girls rides their bikes, they get suited up pretty well: pants, long-sleeve shirts, and helmet.  They are prepared for what might befall them as they cruise and wind around our cul-de-sac.  I think about how the adults of my youth would sometimes holler, "Get into the back of the truck!" and how we kids would be thrilled at the prospect of a hot summer's wind blowing through our young hair.  Is it sad that my kids may never hear that call to adventure?  I wonder.  Perhaps so.
I remember my grampa cutting kindling in the woodshed out behind my grandparents' little red-trimmed house on York Hill.  He would be out there for hours, never mind the dark, the cold, the solitude. Perhaps it was because of these things that he lingered until the cooling embers of the hearth could quietly summon him back inside so that they could be stoked and fed another log or two.  He was a man who kept to himself -- one who never insinuated himself into the affairs of others.  I can sill hear the soft crunch of icy snow beneath his booted feet.
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The cover of my latest book, The Land of Silence, captures my thoughts on writing fairly well.  The content of this book is edgy, and I certainly wouldn't let my young daughters even flip through the pages just yet, but I certainly would let them crack open Gadly Plain.  I do not think a writer has to choose to be either G-rated or something else.  A good writer is simply true to the characters and the story they enact.