Roy H. Williams · December 19, 2016
Man of La Mancha rocked Broadway in 1965 with its thundering theme song, The Impossible Dream.
You remember that song, don’t you? It opens in soft reflection, “To dream the impossible dream… To fight the unbeatable foe…” but then it defies mortal gravity to rise heavenward on a column of fury like an old Apollo rocket from Cape Canaveral:
This is my Quest: to follow that star!
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far!
To fight for the […]
Roy H. Williams · May 30, 2016
Mom’s off-white Formica table with wobbly metal legs had a charred circle on top where I once set a pan that was way too hot. Mom couldn’t afford a tablecloth to cover it, but whenever she suspected a person might have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving dinner, she’d always invite them to our house and have another hungry mouth to feed.
Thanksgiving, for me, meant a house jammed with people I’d never seen before and would never see again. But each year I saw a whole other America […]
Roy H. Williams · May 23, 2016
Elizabeth was a young Quaker girl who fell happily in love and got married in 1929. “Morgan Vining, my husband, swept my little boat out of the shallows into the sunlit depths of life’s stream and we had almost five years together before, in a single moment, he was gone.”
Car wrecks happen quickly.
Elizabeth Vining was adrift. A line from the Breton Fisherman’s Prayer said it best, “Oh Lord, your sea is so great and my boat is so small.”
Elizabeth became a schoolteacher who […]
Roy H. Williams · May 16, 2016
A fortress protects you and makes you feel safe.
A strongly held belief is a fortress. It protects your view of reality. You defend your fortress when you feel it’s under attack.
But is every strongly held belief true?
The sincerity of the believer does not determine the truth of the belief.
Don’t panic, I’m not attacking your fortresses. I have no idea what you believe but I do know you have 4 categories of beliefs:
1. Beliefs about God
Is he there or not? Does he […]
Roy H. Williams · May 09, 2016
I’ve been thinking a lot about aging. Now I’m a cliché for sure: a middle-aged man contemplating all the things in his life that will likely remain undone.
The weirdest triggers send us off on these melancholy journeys. By “us” I mean pampered American men. Today’s introspective journey was triggered when Dale Betts asked me about the 12 Stages of Seduction. He remembered reading my memo about them but hadn’t been able to find it in the archives at […]
Roy H. Williams · May 02, 2016
I was talking to an old friend. He asked the usual questions.
“Everyone is great.”
“Busier than ever.”
“But are you having fun?”
He asked the question as any child of the ‘60s would ask it. The anthem we sang as young men was, “If It Feels Good, Do It.” Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse. Life is kicks, fun, adrenaline: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Dylan Thomas, Anna Nicole, Paris Hilton.
I wasn’t sure how to answer […]
Roy H. Williams · April 25, 2016
A Barely Explicable Collection of Moments
Every person is a collector, I think.
Business people collect money
Travelers collect places.
Competitors collect shining moments.
Insecure people collect conquests, panties hanging from the bedpost.
My own collection consists of curiosities, tokens of moments nearly forgotten; captured glimpses of interesting lives. I’m not certain what this says about me but I like to think it says I’m a writer.
Marcel Proust lectured, […]
Roy H. Williams · April 18, 2016
Anxious anticipation, nervous trepidation, heart palpitation and a tingling sensation are the smells and bells of adventure.
Paul Tournier was a 3 year-old orphan in Switzerland when Teddy Roosevelt became President of the United States. Paul grew up to become a doctor.
He did a lot of thinking and he wrote a few books.
Paul Tournier was nearly 70 when he wrote The Adventure of Living:
“Our actual lives rarely suffice to assuage our thirst for […]
Roy H. Williams · April 11, 2016
John Steinbeck began writing a novel in the summer of 1957 and abandoned it the day after Christmas.
I was born 93 days later.
Those two events were unconnected before today.
Steinbeck wrote the first 114 pages of his novel before setting it aside. He had already completed 25 novels, including The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row. He was 55 years old.
Steinbeck went on to publish The Winter of Our Discontent in 1961 and then Travels With Charley in […]
Roy H. Williams · April 04, 2016
The fifth one ended up in France.
Peter Wenders chooses stories and illustrations for children’s books.
It’s 1954, and today is a day like any other; Wenders sits innocently in his office, believing that people are who they claim to be.
And he assumes they’ll do what they say they’ll do.
But today a man with round glasses and a large nose walks into his office wearing an overcoat and a fedora. The man offers his hand, “Hello, my name is Harris Burdick.”