Thursday, March 15, 2012

Publication Day

Twenty-some years ago, I walked a sidewalk on a Hartford evening, side-by-side a pony-tailed volleyball-playing co-worker. You know who I’m taking about. Among a group of other journos coming out of a bar, Sheri and I nevertheless ended up in our own chat, as we seemed often to do those days. Side-by-side walking. Practice, I suppose.

We talked about what each of us hoped would come next in our own lives. Sheri mentioned Montana, and I allowed as how I wanted to write fiction. Stories. Maybe a novel. I had cockeyed ideas about graduate school, but didn’t how to apply or how much it cost or anything, really. Even as they came out of my mouth, the words, “graduate school,” made as much sense to me as “string theory” does now. I was 26 and clueless.

Some people might have laughed. Some might have pointed out the difficulty of uprooting a life for graduate school, of the cost, of the years given to a pursuit that would not be lucrative and perhaps not even successful. But Sheri listened to a younger man’s quixotic ambition, and she never varied the pace of her steps. And later, when I wanted to move to Arkansas for that mythical graduate school, she still kept pace.

Today is publication day. Twenty years later, my first book of fiction comes into the world.

And I think it is true that the reason I have both book and Sheri in my life is that twenty-years ago an older woman listened to the optimism of youth and made room on that sidewalk for what was unlikely, maybe even daft, and she considered it possible.


  1. Congratulations Sherri & Michael - I, too, met someone many years ago, and age was never a topic, until a few months after first meeting. I thought 10,perhaps 15 years difference at the most. Boy was I wrong, we were exactly 24 years and six months apart in age. Luckily, we had 29 years together. In 1976 marriage wasn't an option for us in New Haven,CT. We promised to be the other's best friend, lover and advocate til death we did part. We kept that bargain until he passed away peacefully, at 74 years of age. I know without a doubt I wouldn't be the man I am today had I not met, lived with and loved that person who wanted to talk and listen to me. And now, at 57 years of age I look forward to spending time with people of all ages, including my mother who is only one year older than my mate, and listening, as well as being listened to. Enjoy what comes next, whatever it is.

  2. Thank you for that beautiful sentiment. Sounds like your partner was a good, kind man. We're glad you had time with him. Your idea to surround yourself with people of various ages sounds like a good recipe for life. As teachers, we enjoy the opportunity to talk and listen to young people. And recently, we enjoyed a visit with a 97-year-old friend who herself has the habit of visiting with folks of many ages and who seems to be so vital because of it.