Archive for the ‘The Four Seasons’ Category


Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

I had a weird dream the other night. Two young children, maybe about ten and four, who didn’t look like mine, but I identified in the dream as mine, went off on a motorcycle, ten year old driving. I was screaming because I just knew they were going to be killed (they weren’t killed in the dream, they just disappeared down the road). That’s it.

The dream recurred several times, and i remembered it in the morning, which is unusual for me. I suspect it is a reflection of my anxiety about leaving for such a long time in Asia, but it was a strange  way for that to manifest.

I posted about it on Facebook, and had several friends who know a lot about such things offer explanations.  One offered a numerological analysis based on the three ages, the two children and myself.  Another added to that,  the idea that there was in it the “innocent exhilaration of a four year old with the sense of adventure of a ten year old,” adding that I was the experienced voice of caution, but might  not need to be as worried as I felt.  Another friend, well versed in Jung, agreed with this and pointed that in the dream no damage occurred. An adventurous and brave 10-year old undertook the  nusual act of riding a motorcycle, and shared  it with a friend.

I  feel  bathed in the love of three people who deeply want the dream to mean that things will  be okay. They wanted me to see this dream as a basis for confidence in myself.   Despite my apparent anxiety, I would be fine, and these little adventurers on the bike were extensions  of myself going off into the unknown.

But the dream wasn’t about the children.  It was about me.  It was about being helpless, about the dawning sense of terrible, terrible loss.

I don’t talk much about this, but here is what I think the dream meant.

In 1999, I went off for the fall semester to Florence for a sabbatical.  I said goodbye to my 21-year-old son, Adriano, and never saw him again.  In December of that year he took his life shortly before I came home.  I have recalibrated my own life, and have indeed been able to reconstruct a happy existence. He is there, tucked into my heart, to put it gently, or scarred into it, to put it another, blunter way.

I know from experience that you can never expect to come back to what you leave behind.  When I go off on my travels, everyone I  love goes off on their own life journey as well. I want to come back and find everyone unchanged, or better yet, changed in positive ways. But I can’t keep them safe. In many ways it is much, much easier to believe I can keep myself from harm.

When those two children went off on that motorcycle,  it would be nice to think it was all a fun adventure and they would be back.  I know better.  Trust, love, and hope are all I can send out into the universe, and pray that it will be enough.



Grand Prize Winner at the San Diego Book Awards!

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Last Saturday evening, UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH won best biography, and THE FOUR SEASONS won best historical fiction at the 2009 San Diego Bookcatnhat2 Awards.  But there’s more!  THE FOUR SEASONS won the Theodor S. Geisel Award for book of the year!  To be recognized for my writing with three awards at this event, and earlier this year at the Christopher Awards in New York, is so far beyond anything I’ve experienced as a writer that I’m still pinching myself.

Here’s a link to the San Diego Union-Tribune article, “Top honor to ‘Seasons’ at S.D. book awards” and the San Diego Book Awards site

with my sister (and my toughest critic) at the San Diego Book Awards

with my sister (and my toughest critic) at the San Diego Book Awards



Here I am with my sister Lynn celebrating the San Diego Book Awards wins, and later, with the  honorary hat!

Better than trophy, that hat of a cat!

Better than trophy, that hat of a cat!

San Diego Book Award Finalist–Twice!

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I received word this morning that both UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH and THE FOUR SEASONS  are finalists for

With Sarah Landis, my editor for THE FOUR SEASONS.  Thanks, Sarah, for your great work!

With Sarah Landis, my editor for THE FOUR SEASONS. Thanks, Sarah, for your great work!

 2009 San Diego Book  Awards.  I’ve been told that being a finalist in two categories in one year is a rare accomplishment, and I am deeply honored to have my writing acknowledged in this way.