Monday, January 18, 2010
One More Writer I Admire
Dick didn't like to read his own work aloud, for whatever reason, so he often asked me to read whatever he had for that night's meeting. I enjoyed doing that little favor for him more than I'm sure he ever realized. His wit, outright humor, and ability to touch the heart all came through his stories. I knew I was in for a treat when I read the papers he passed across a table to me.
In an essay I had published sometime ago that featured writers who began to write after the age of fifty, I included this interesting man. The section I wrote about how he started writing is below:
Dick says that anything he wrote in high school was overlooked because of poor spelling and bad handwriting. In spite of that, he won second prize in a Woman's Club essay contest in his teen years. It was the first time he received recognition for his writing, and the excitement was never forgotten. Dick avoided writing through the majority of his life, being ashamed of its appearance. When over sixty, he submitted a poem to a newspaper. A Writer's Guild member contacted him, and he took a big step by attending meetings. Soon, he bought a word processor and signed up for a writing course for Seniors. He created a fictitious family called "The Nevers", writing story upon story about the folks who make up this bumbling family. Dick says, "I like what I write. I laugh, I get a tear in my eye, I live my plots."
Dick worked in the family printing business until 1968 and then spent another twenty years at a large company in Rockford before retiring. He moved on to selling real estate until the fnal retirement twelve years ago. During the past fifteen years, he's written short stories and essays in his leisure time. He's seldom pursued publication of his work through the usual channels. Instead, he has self-published a book of his hilarious stories about the Nevers family, a group of bumblers who see life in a little different light than most of us. He's also self-published a book about his military experience in the Marshall Islands Pacific. The title is "Eniwetok Remembered 1952-53" His memories there include being witness to the testing of the first hydrogen bomb. I found this memoir interesting reading and feel others would, also.
Dick continues to hone his craft by taking an occasional writing class. One he told me about was set in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. It must have been a great place to become inspired to write.
I admire Dick's versatility. He writes wonderful humorous fiction, and unless you've attempted it, you don't realize how difficult it is to write humor that doesn't fall flat or becomes overly done. He hits just the right happy medium. He can also turn out a beautiful and serious essay, or even one that leaves the reader with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye. One I particularly like can be read at http://www.ourecho.com/story-355-Winter-Walk.shtml He won an award for this one at http://www.ourecho.com/. Many more of his stories and essays can be found at Our Echo. If you read A Winter Walk, click on the Other Stories at the top of the page next to Written By.
Besides all the above, Dick Dunlap is a kind and thoughtful person, and I am pleased to call him 'friend.'