“Oh, I Never Read… Fiction,” He Sniffs.

Whenever one makes a new acquaintance socially, within seconds the conversation will turn to the hackneyed drill about each other’s occupation.

“I’m in sales,” the other says.

“Oh,” I reply cordially. “I spent years in marketing.” I smile, trying to be nice. “What sort of sales?”

“Computers,” he says, peering off into the crowded room. “Not consumer. I work with businesses.” Pause; rattle the ice cubes, take a sip.

“Hardware?” I ask. “Software?” I know the drill.

“Applications.” He says. “On site. At their offices.”

“You’re a field tech, then,” I respond.

He warms a little. “Yes. And what do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Ahh. What do you write? You said, uh, marketing?”

“Well, that was some time ago. I’m an author.”

“Oh. What kind of books do you write?”

“Novels. Some opinion pieces, but mostly fiction.” A beat… I ask amiably, “Do you read for pleasure?”

He glances into his empty highball glass of watery ice cubes, sniffs, and scoffs, “Yes, but…” Continue reading

Let’s Go Fly

Vignette: Recalling a friend out of the blue.

The year had begun in a quandary of distraction and foreboding. Life seemed to be hopelessly mucked up. The business, the marriage, the morbid view into a brown fog called the future. Dad’s pain that started in December, had nagged him into immobility before January was out.

I’d abandoned my client work into the hands of my business partner as the damp cold of that Michigan winter pressed in on everyone and I made caring for Elgan the center of my life.

Now it was October. The Ann Arbor Indian summer was a golden contrast to the dank hopelessness that corroded my soul. I was stupefied, mute, going through motions, avoiding thoughts of the inevitable. Elgan had made the torturous last lap of his cancer ordeal to the hospital where he now slept in the care of others.

I was spent, emotionally and functionally.

The phone rang. It was a client and longtime good friend, LJ, calling from his office at Oakland County airport. He knew I’d been away from normalcy all year ministering to my dad.

He said, “Let’s go fly.” Continue reading

Book Learning

A Lecturer Learns a Lesson

As a guest speaker at one of the nation’s top MBA schools, I was once invited to develop a series of four or five lectures to an advanced marketing class. These young men (happens they were all males) would be future corporate decision makers. All had been steeped in leading edge analytical management systems and theory. But many would be hiring, evaluating, and directing right-brain talent, so the department head spoke to the Dean about an idea, and one fall afternoon, there I was.

My topic: The Creative Process in Marketing Communications. Continue reading

Let’s See, Where Was I and Who Cares?

Somewhere, just beyond the horizon of this webpage is a boilerplate biography sketched out by a very good publicist (Lori Twichell) —but only after much arm-wrestling with me. She’d insisted, so I passed along some factoids. She dug deeper and came up with much more than makes me comfortable.

You see, I’m a “private person,” temperamentally averse to anything that even approaches today’s social media narcissism.  The fragments of my life are my business. Not that I have anything (much) to hide, but then again, I have nothing much to brag about either. So, when Lori (my ally in the mission we call Elgan and Grace) insisted I reveal the true identity of L.E.Taylor, I retreated—a toothless Dracula before the Cross.

But there I was anyway, at the keyboard, about to expose the underachiever behind the curtain. I stared at the blank screen. And eerily, through the mists of time, and technologies unknown in his world, a familiar literary predecessor emerged. The gentleman squints blindly through thick black-rimmed spectacles. And grins. For the biographical panorama I’d like to project is not my own; it is embarrassingly… mittyesque. (Footnote 1)

Still, without embroidering the truth, let’s have another look… Continue reading