I had to run out to the grocery store earlier. The streets were much quieter than usual, of course. Some people were out for walks in the sunshine with their kids and loved ones. The folks at the grocery store were friendly and smiling. No one was pushing or shoving. In fact, the bread guy asked if I needed help with anything, then pulled two fresh loaves off the rack and safely handed them to me.

“Just got them in,” he said, smiling.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “Appreciate that.”
“Here to help.” And back to stocking the shelves, he went.

When I came home, I sat on my front steps for a little while to get some fresh air and think. People waved or said “hello” as they walked by.

“Crazy times aren’t they? Sure is nice to have the sun, though.”

Now, maybe it’s just a random, one-off experience today—and maybe I’m off my rocker—but it really made me wonder if this crisis that’s forcing us to isolate, might actually bring us closer in the long run.

It’s helping us slow down and pay attention to each other. For the first time in many, many years, it kind of feels like the world I grew up in. Slower, more thoughtful, less hectic, and a whole lot simpler.

With all the suffering right now, it helps to know that we’ll make it through this. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be better to each other as a result.


John Anthony writes.
I came across a short text document I wrote many years ago. It was back in early 2000, and I had jotted down an idea I had for a story. It was about a boy—probably me—growing up in the 1970s. It’s the idea that would eventually become my novella, A MOMENT IN MAGIC HOUR.

I remember writing the idea down. I was feeling nostalgic, having just left behind another year and entering the new millennium. My childhood seemed to be ever further away. And at thirty-one, I was well into my adulthood, which seemed to have crept up on me without warning.

The little idea remained in my head for several years, appearing at the times I’d be wistfully looking back on my life. The story continued to ferment and grow over the years, until 2014, when I began to focus on getting the thoughts out of my head, and turned into words on paper.

There is a reason I am sharing this with you. It demonstrates how an idea—in my case, just a few short paragraphs long—can develop over time. If you allow your desire and personal experience to feed that idea, it will continue to grow and develop. At first you may feel the final product is so far away it’s unreachable, but as the idea grows, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem, you will witness it become something more beautiful than you ever anticipated.

All things begin with a seed. An idea. We may not see what that seed will become—and to others it may be folly—but if it’s important to us, we’ll nourish it to see what blooms.

For those of you who have read A MOMENT IN MAGIC HOUR, I’m excited to show you the seed that became the novel.

Be well and do good things, my friends.

January 5th, 2000.

There’s a time in everyone’s life when the world doesn’t go past the end of your block. Anything that matters is visible from your front yard, and the people that are important lay on the grass with you, looking up into the blue sky, pointing out shapes in the clouds as the warm rays from the sun wash your faces. School is out, the neighborhood is buzzing with activity as bikes whiz up and down the street, trolling for other kids to run out the front door, pick up their bike off the front lawn, kick the grass off the pedals, and race off after you on some kind of adventure.

That’s how my tenth summer started. We all have defining moments in our lives. The summer of 1977 was such a time, for me. I was ten-years-old and found out I was going to have a third little sister.

Would this make a decent novel?