Professor • Sailor • Gardener • Weaver • Cook Whenever I write – about families, sailing, farming, history, or the future – I strive for authenticity. We always need honest voices, in fiction or poetry as much as anywhere else.
Maybe authenticity’s easier over time -- in my case, after years of teaching and research, of setting sail or baking pies or tucking seeds into the ground. As a child, I lived in an agricultural world. Our farm, not far from where my fictional Kästner family settled down, demanded work of the kind that’s been done for millennia. Being out in a field, dirty and tired, a long way from anything remotely modern, lets the past swoop in and take up residence in the heart.
As I gathered eggs or groomed heifers, I learned to notice which way an animal’s ears were pointed and what the sky said about the next few hours. Then I grew up and buried myself in literature full of the voices of the past. Without even thinking about it, I choose pastimes popular in past times, long days aboard small ships and long hours in the kitchen, at the loom, or inhaling the scent of green things growing. Now I am a professor emeritus at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, where I taught writing, wrote textbooks, and co-founded Kleidon & Associates, a marketing communications firm. For thirty-eight years, my husband and I sailed Lake Atwood and Lake Erie. It wasn't ocean sailing, but in many ways, it was similar, and it helped me describe tall-ship sailing in 1836: Year of Escape. Always, at the center of all this was family. We all treasure and regret what our parents did or did not teach us, but we learn as much from siblings and even more from our own children. Curiouser and curiouser, I thought, and such curiosity led to many discoveries about those holding hands with me and those who came before me, inspiring and shaping us. Dennis and I now speak at writers' conferences, book clubs and other groups. Email me to inquire about our speaking at your event. And subscribe to our newsletter, Unleash/Escape.
INTRODUCING UNLEASH/ESCAPE, a biweekly newsletter exploring the ideas in 1836 and in Dennis Kleidon's book, Unleash Your Imagination. We never sell or give away emails, and unsubscribing is always available.