WE WANT TO WRITE

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Today Southern Virginia University is announcing that I will create and direct a new Institute for Writing and Mass Media. I’m thrilled by what this will mean for our students. And I’m grateful to my colleagues in publishing, television, print journalism, filmmaking and photography that have agreed to participate in the Institute as teachers and mentors. A link to the press release appears at the bottom of this post.

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BELONGING

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I’m sitting on an outdoor patio at a pizza joint overlooking the ocean in southeastern Connecticut. Sun-tanned pedestrians pass by in flip flops and tank tops. My wife and children are with me. We’re waiting for Susette Kelo to arrive for dinner.

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ALMOST HOME

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It’s late on a Sunday afternoon and I’m backing a rental car full of teenagers into a tight space in the sprawling parking lot of MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. A guy wearing a Rolling Stones baseball cap and talking on a cell phone is using his free hand to motion me back, back, back, stop! The moment I step out of the car it’s as if I’m surrounded by friends. I’m greeted by tailgaters in shorts and tank tops who are barbecuing Italian sausage while tossing Frisbees and footballs. It’s 90 degrees and sunny on the acres of blacktop surrounding America’s largest pro football stadium, but everyone is friendly. We share something in common – we have come to see Coldplay kick off its North American tour.

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FEELING GRATEFUL

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A few years ago I received a phone call from Sheri Dew, the publisher and CEO of
the Deseret Book Company. She reads my blog and suggested it might make for an inspiring book to expand some of the blog posts I’d written about people who had wrestled with pain, loss, and hardship. She didn’t suggest any specific storylines or even offer a general outline. It was more of a hunch or gut feeling.

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SELLING THE FARM

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We are selling Rockspring Farm.

That’s a line I never thought I’d write. In fact, when I telephoned my mother to give her the news she was literally speechless. I thought my cell phone had cut out. Then she finally whispered, “I never imagined you’d leave that place.”

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