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Interview with Writer Terry Loncaric

Presenting the first in a series of interviews with fascinating people I’m privileged to know.

EM: When did you know you would become a writer? Were there any precise turning points you remember?

TL: I was the geeky kid who always enjoyed writing assignments in school and would write extra-long essays about everything. I was always opinionated and loved to express myself on paper. Many experiences in life whet my appetite as a writer. When I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a Mattel printing press, and I was printing my own newspaper with neighborhood gossip. Other little girls were pushing their cute buggies, and I was editing a newspaper.

I was always in love with the rhythm of words and how they seemed to dance with life when they hit the page. Though some teachers inspired and encouraged me, I never had to be sold on words or pushed to read. I think reading is always the beginning of writing because if you can feel the magic of words you truly become hooked.

I’m a word-aholic, and it’s an addiction that has given me solace throughout my life.

EM: When did you first say to yourself, “I’m a writer!”?

TL: Writing is such a part of my soul and my “being” I never really had to say, “I’m a writer.” It just happened. I know I’m a writer because I always felt empty during the few moments in my life I didn’t write. Writing is a life force. It is an immutable part of who I am.

Writers are always seeking the truth and looking deep inside themselves. Like it or not, writing is a soul-changing experience. I guess I’ve been a writer as long as I’ve been a truth seeker. The writer part of my soul is continually curious, always trying to process and render meaning from my life experiences.

Though honesty is a big component of writing, I believe that beauty is also a function of art. If you have the gift of words, I think you can bring beauty and meaning to the human experience. You can motivate, empower and uplift others. That is not a responsibility I take lightly.

EM: To what extent were you nurtured in your writing by your family, teachers, mentors, writing groups?

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August 12, 2008   1 Comment

The High Brix Garden (To Which I Aspire, Fairly Soon, Perhaps)

Days of driving rain, then more days of blast-furnace heat in which I’ve been so busy I haven’t even ventured out to look at my little gardens. I suppose I could take at least two different perspectives on my projects, the first being horrendous failure.

The weeds (mostly grass) are taller than many of the things I’ve planted and are in the process of reseeding themselves. Most everything looks puny or a little blighted. The potato plants simply shriveled up before blooming, the zucchini blossoms stay on the stem but don’t bear fruit, the basil looks a tad pale, and the cilantro has bolted, gone to seed, and turned a crispy brown. It looks pretty awful, I must say.

On the other hand, [

August 10, 2008   No Comments

Creating Thinking Time

During a recent visit, Barak Obama and David Cameron—Leader of England’s Conservative Party—discussed the importance of not getting bogged down in details. “The most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking,” said Obama.

After all, we all need planning time, time for reflection, decision-making time, problem-solving time, and time for “simply being.”

The big question is: [

July 31, 2008   No Comments

The Two Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

Henry James got it almost right. Those two words are surely summer morning, not summer afternoon.

A summer morning cool, heavy, washed with dew and birdsong and with the promise of untold delights ready to unfold. Who knows what a day might bring?

First go get the newspaper from the mailbox near the road, then check all the little gardens. They’re all looking a little better, and the soil is gradually coming to a lovely, friable state

The weather is so crisp this morning that I have two thoughts: [Read more →]

July 27, 2008   6 Comments

A Change of View

Just back from a short visit with my mother and sister in the Ozarks. A glorious drive of only a couple of hours through “hollow lands and hilly lands.” Breath-taking hill top views, dense dark forests, fast clear streams and rivers, and of course I forgot to take [Read more →]

July 15, 2008   2 Comments

Reading Near the Garden

In today’s New York Times Verlyn Klinkenborg writes about reading near the garden. “The books would drive me to the garden and the sun would drive me back to reading in the shade. That was the plan.”

But his plan was foiled by Dorothy Sayers. He’s right. One doesn’t often look up when engrossed in the elegant mysteries pursued by Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. He also muses about starting the Patrick O’Brien novels, which Frank and I both love.

I have similar plans, and even have the lounger to prove it. All I need to do is [Read more →]

July 7, 2008   No Comments

Time to Write

The clear sunny morning promises heat this afternoon. Rolled out to check the gardens and think how many things I’d like to be doing outside.

Writing awaits, and I want to finish some work before I play. I did pick thyme, sage, and rosemary for tonight’s as yet unknown dinner. Lentil soup perhaps. I think of Virginia Woolf’s diary: “One acquires a certain power over [Read more →]

July 5, 2008   3 Comments

Independence Day

July 4th dawns hot and bright, with no rain clouds in sight, yet. Rain expected later today.

Encouraged by the application of nutrients, the kitchen garden boasts tiny green tomatoes, one cucumber, greening parsley and basil, and a few baby peppers. 

Here in the United States, some consider this day a solemn time to contemplate the ideals upon which our country was founded. For many, it’s a day of barbeques, parties, marching bands, patriotic speeches, and trimmings of red, white, and blue.

As with most holidays, Frank and I like to spend this day alone together in blessed quiet with our books, journals, and Baroque music, preferably Bach.

But the thought of marching bands takes me back to [Read more →]

July 4, 2008   No Comments

Rain Gardens

Rain, rain, rain nearly every day. When the rain stops, the sun creates a steambath effect.

When I got out of work a little early, stopped by a garden center to pick up bee balm, Russian sage (such a heavenly scent), rudibeckia (in memory of my friend Becky), black sweet potato vines, artemesia, diantha, blue salvia, and hen and chickens. Most of these plants were distressed and half-priced, so I brought them home to heal.

My garden assistant planted them around the little mailbox garden by the road. He also worked 40 pounds of cow manure and compost into the soil of the kitchen garden.

July already, and still no big garden. As I look out at the field of mostly white clover that is the front yard, I begin to come to terms with the thought that the garden of my dreams is not yet to be. Why disturb the feng shui for now? I don’t deal well with heat and humidity. Perhaps a fall garden, perhaps a spring garden next spring, perhaps not at all.

One thing I do know for now is [Read more →]

July 3, 2008   2 Comments

My First Moleskine

As a long-term keeper of journals, over 30 years now, I’m amazed that I’ve just ordered my first Moleskine. Oh, I’d heard about them and read about them, and in my head, I pronounced it in two syllables: mole-skin or mole-skine.

Then at the journal conference, I saw and examined several of them (Thanks guys!) and felt the heft and richness. And acid free!

Although I spend much of my time now journaling in computer programs, my introduction to journals and diaries was on paper. When I’m tired, stressed, or ill, I love to speak one of my favorite phrases: [Read more →]

June 27, 2008   2 Comments