1. Ke11y

    Typing now, flight of fingers over the keys, I finally understand what my father understood about writing; that the world in which the writer lives happens right here, on the page. My father was a professional fisherman, not a poet. Yet his love, his life, was revealed to the reader through the punched holes of the black ribbon on his Smith-Corona typewriter

    Father would come to my bedside and read his stories. His gnarled, stubby fisherman’s fingers gripping the pages as he read. I would lie in my bed listening intently; looking at the punctures on the back of each page, wondering what fabulous creatures would come alive.

    All I have become, all I have dreamed of becoming, can be found in the words written in his diaries, or the completed stories, even the many scraps of writings never finished, and in his love of life. That’s who I have become. My life continually affected by the spirit of his writing; its effect borne out by the way I live.

    When my father was home, away from his other love, the ocean, he was writing. His inspiration, and you must believe me as if my palm were flat upon a page of the Bible, was my mother. He was an awkward man, standing six-feet-nine inches. Clumsy most of the time, but well intentioned. It wasn’t unusual for my mother, on finding my father languishing in the kitchen to ask: “Frank, are you lost?” He’d drift away, quietly as a ghost, to his study overlooking the harbor. Their love was a cleansing cloud over the head of a difficult boy, a place for me to play. Love as bright as shining stones, or safe as garden shrubbery to hide in, that smelled so good and held me safe.

    My father, looking back over my childhood, my life with him, had the soul of a poet. He loved and lived on the ocean, but also the mountains on the island. He was a tenderness in the world, never a complicated man. Now, when I’m alone, I love to read his words. Some might see in them sadness, but not me. I see achievement and joy. There is a tragedy, for what life will not be touched by such an invasion. He dealt inefficiently with foolishness. He died where he wanted to die. The ocean, he knew, accepts those who love her most.

    The Smith-Coroner typewriter sits on my desk. The ribbon with punched holes still in place.

    I have no use for it, save, at night, when I hear the sound of a single finger pounding on its keys.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Dear Kelly, This is absolute gorgeous writing. You have a way of telling a story that is mesmerizing. . . not just in a “what happens next way” but also in a way that draws me in, as if I am invited to sit at your hearth, or your bedside with your father. I am part of this story, because of your kind (unspoken) invitation. You draw readers in, every time you share a story. I enjoy your complex characters. I admire your ability to weave a story as steadfast as a knitted fisherman’s cable sweater. This is a fine addition to your collection of stories “from the hearth.” Thank you very much for sharing. ~Marlene

    2. Lisa

      Wow! I just love this. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Ke11y


        You have no idea how your complimentary words make me feel.

        Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.


  2. Ke11y

    Dear Marlene, thank you.

    You have not just been an inspirational voice over the years, helping me see my way forward, encouraging me at every turn, but someone who cheers every writer. You have built a site with no other ambition than to provide a place for writers to come and find something valuable, whether it be the voices of other writers, ideas and suggestions to improve what we all love to do, which is to sit down and write. With thoughtful prompts, links to helpful sites, or places for writers to submit their work, you have done great things to provide the warmest of places in which to reside, work, and learn.
    That you find my work rewarding to read has more to do with you, than me. Thank you.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Oh, thank YOU, Kelly. Truly, if your writing were bound between covers, I would sit in front of the hearth and read until my eyes drooped. Your wordsmithing would lull me to a deep and satisfying sleep. As a reader, I know I can trust you as a writer, to keep me entertained and satiated with meaningful stories. You, your writing and your stories make me a better writer!

      And so, I thank YOU!

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