“Nothing Special” Blog

The book that taught me how to write has taken me out on the road to speak. The speaking and writing have happily conspired to put me in contact with many terrific people, more than I can keep up with.

This blog is my attempt to be in contact while still protecting time with Barbara and the kids, some nourishing solitude, and time to write.

I am calling it “Nothing Special” because I have no illusions of having anything particularly profound to say. Days in a life mostly, and hunches about the living.


In my late twenties I took a second foray into solitude. Fully aware that I might run for the legislature the following year, I longed for some time alone. That and the physical extension a long ride on a small motorcycle would certainly entail. For two months I made my way – on back roads mostly […]

Continue Reading


Around the bend a high riding four-wheeler, passenger waving frantically as they pass, too late now, gravel into gulley, nowhere to turn around, into a washout, sides funneling down into a tire-wide tracklet, rock ahead, up onto the wall to miss it and over, upside down into an adjacent arroyo, cycle on top and gear, heft […]

Continue Reading


It’s not that I dislike people. Quite the contrary. I like people a lot. More and more as I get to know anyone, age eroding my insecurity-fed inclination to evaluate rather than understand. It’s just that I also like some time alone. I am fascinated by what can be learned out beyond the known world of […]

Continue Reading


No longer disguised by darkness, the storm shrieks in the shrouds and around us, whipping the Atlantic into unforgiving turmoil. “Another five knots,” Barbara squints up from the wind indicator. When I say nothing,“What can I get you?” “I’m fine. Are the kids okay?” “They’re just stirring. Got a good night’s sleep.” “Like us,” a weary smile. We […]

Continue Reading


My father’s world bursts into flames, larger and larger doses of medicine in a losing battle with Parkinsons. His hand flutters up from rest in his lap, gesturing in alarm at the eruption of flames on the rug in front of the TV across the living room. “Do you see that?”, turning to me in […]

Continue Reading


After every speaking engagement, tucked into the playful give and take, some form of “What have you been upto lately,  John?” It is shorthand for “since you sailed back home?” or “since you finished Sailing Grace?”  I explain – short form or long – that Barbara and I returned to our professional lives, she as […]

Continue Reading