All - I was saddened to learn the other day that two of my all-time favorite English professors that taught me during undergraduate studies at SCSU passed away recently. Dan Ort and Leanne Smith influenced my writing life greatly, and me personally. For all of you who have experienced my encouragement during workshops to "pump up" your writing, or to stretch what you can do with a particular sentence, or to maximize the power of the words you use to describe a scene, all of that came from Dan Ort. I still have a satire piece about dieting I worked on with him, all of his scribbles to push the writing even farther still intact. Leanne Smith was the type of professor who pushed you to express your own opinions. I'll never forget a paper I wrote for American Literature about The Scarlet Letter. Although my point of view was outside the conventional, I got an A because I articulated the position with tight writing.
There are many who influence us in our lives, who help us become who we are. Both of these professors were that for me. I always wanted to touch base with them to let them know what became of me and how they influenced my success in life -- and never had the chance, although both didn't live far away.
Here are some of Dan's books a friend emailed to me. I haven't read them in forever. But thought you might want to take a look.
IS THIS THE END OF LITTLE RICO?
$12.95, 72 pages
Two looks at the role of storytelling in the life of an ordinary and not so ordinary man, followed by a personal meditation on mortality and art and — astonishingly — amnesia.
MY MOTHER ALWAYS CALLED ME BY MY BROTHER'S NAME
$14.95, 128 pages
hardcover, limited edition, signed—$40.00
More clever essays on computers, cinnamon rolls, family life, and dying from the author of Ort Bran.
hardcover $20.00; pbk $14.95, 128 pages
hardcover: ISBN 0-914061-18-6; paperback ISBN 0-914061-12-7
Amused looks at hospitals, commercials, cocktail parties, cats vs. dogs, weddings, and a variety of contemporary phenomena from a wry personal viewpoint. Some of these essays were previously published in The New York Times, to which the author, a professor at South Connecticut State University, frequently contributes.