introduction

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“Why don’t you simply commit to being a writer?” My wife asked me that question several years ago, and I had no answer for her.

I have been an educator, in the roles of substitute teacher, high school English teacher, and college English instructor since 1988. Teaching has been a driving passion for me most of my adult life, but I had always felt another tug to express my love of words and reading in another direction. For many years, I had merely dipped a foot into the churning river of writing, but I had never decided to jump into those turbulent waters and immerse myself.

“You can be both a teacher and a writer,” Liz said to me, and she was correct.

My life has been intrinsically and intricately interwoven with books. I cannot remember a time when I could not read. I was an active and happy child, but much of that happiness came from my absorption into books. I consider reading to be one of life’s great pleasures, along with romance, travel, and cooking and eating. Even though I have started later than most writers, I am now a reader of books, a teacher of literature, and a writer of books.
Most writers begin their creative journeys in their teens or twenties. My beginning, however, like most of the rest of the paths in my life, has not followed the typical course. I was an adult student, earning My Bachelor’s degree in my mid-thirties, and now, in my fifties, I have just earned my Ph.D. in English Literature from Lehigh University. Just like my career as a student, my career as a writer has begun at its own pace.

I do not, however, consider the relatively late start to be an impediment; rather, it is a strength. I can say, with complete certainty, that in addition to being a college professor, I am also now a writer. Regardless of the outcome of my writing, of the level of success I achieve, I will continue to write for the rest of my life.

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21 thoughts on “introduction

  1. Gregg Scully

    Obvious to all who know you, Chuck, you’ve already succeeded at being a wonderful husband, teacher, and human being. Having enjoyed your stories (and your style of telling them) over the years, it’s also easy to see that you’re a born raconteur. Best of luck with this new pursuit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vincent Walsh

    Thank you, Dr. French! I’m so glad you’ve embarked on the high seas of creative writing, full-sail, bringing the same inspiring energies to words on a page that I know you have showered over students in the classroom at Lehigh for many years now. No worries about a so-called “late start” at this venture, for the wisdom of accumulated experience contains a treasure house of anecdotes and distilled wisdom for all who are blessed to come across your work. The horizon is endless, the sky the only limit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Savard

    My heart swells with pride on your decision to write. I am not a literary critic, however, I feel that your writing starts from your soul and weaves its way onto paper and into my heart. Best Wishes to you on this path you have chosen….it is pleasure to call you and Liz “more than friends.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thomas

    “It is indeed becoming more and more difficult, even senseless, for me to write an official English. And more and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the Nothingness) behind it. Grammar and style. To me they have become as irrelevant as a Victorian bathing suit or the imperturbability of a true gentleman. A mask. Let us hope the time will come (thank God that in certain circles it has already come) when language is most efficiently used where it is being most efficiently misused. As we cannot eliminate language all at once, we should at least leave nothing undone that might contribute to its falling into disrepute. To bore one hole after another in it, until what lurks behind it—be it something or nothing—begins to seep through; I cannot imagine a higher goal for a writer today. Or is literature alone to remain behind in the old lazy ways that have been so long ago abandoned by music and painting? Is there something paralysingly holy in the vicious nature of the word that is not found in the elements of the other arts? Is there any reason why that terrible materiality of the word surface should not be capable of being dissolved, like for example the sound surface, torn by enormous pauses, of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, so that through whole pages we can perceive nothing but a path of sounds suspended in giddy heights, linking unfathomable abysses of silence? An answer is requested.”
    Samuel Beckett in a letter written in German to Axel Kaun in 1937.
    Just some words that I came upon this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charles, I wanted to go back to your blog origin to learn as much about it as possible. I am enjoying it so much and also want to thank you for liking my writing on my “sports” blog. A favor…I value your time indeed but if you would take a visit to lifeattitudes.wordpress.com, a site I have devoted to non-sports (i.e. real life) posts. That site may even be of more interest based on the topics and life lessons you so eloquently provide on your site. I would be honored if you would check it out and maybe that would be a more interesting follow as well? In any event, you are a wonderful blogger and I am grateful I found your site. Your story inspires me to keep writing! Best, Bruce B.

    Liked by 1 person

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