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During many years as a newspaper feature writer and columnist, I chronicled other people’s lives. Telling those stories required adherence to this journalistic mantra: Listen to what people have to say and report it without personal bias.
For the good news stories—winning a wheelchair race, spearheading a medical breakthrough, piloting a sailboat around the world—that was easy. More challenging were the heartbreaking or scandalous ones—exploitation of a group of migrants, an accused murderess who maintained her innocence, a child with terminal cancer.
Through the parade of such stories, my own tales were relegated to the background. Some of them were reality-based. Most were imaginary. My penchant for stories had been imprinted in childhood, thanks to a father who had a story—embellished or invented—about nearly everyone.
My father’s own story, the most outrageous of them all, was the topic of my first book, The Sunflower Sinner: An Odyssey of Politics and Passion. In DETOURS, my new collection of short stories, the private struggles and public follies of conflicted characters run the gamut from mischief to mayhem. As they abandon normalcy to fulfill far-fetched notions, their escapades mirror the confounding enigmas of our human condition.
Each of us has our own unique stories to relate. By sharing them in writing, we enrich the world with words and ideas. In the electronic frenzy of modern society, written stories—true or fictional—offer insights into our lives and histories. These vignettes reassure us that literary imagination continues to thrive, and that the age-old traditions of storytelling will survive.
I hope that you enjoy DETOURS, and are inspired to tell your own stories.