Jim Warda

 

I became a writer for many reasons. Words. Books. My parents. My wife and children.

I love the way words fall and turn across the page like October leaves. And, then, when you turn your back, they jump up like toddlers from a timeout, and rearrange themselves to find a whole new way of being.

I love books by Hemingway and Kerouac and Shakespeare and Stephen King and Natalie Goldberg and Faulkner and any writer who dares to bare themselves upon the page. Hemingway taught me to say it quick and clean. Kerouac taught me to play in the words. Shakespeare taught me that the eternal truths are just that. King taught me to speak with gratitude to the Constant Reader. Goldberg taught me to keep going back to what I most want to say. And Faulkner showed me that words could truly do anything I wanted them to.

And, my parents.

My father was a poet accountant, not a cliche combination. As a young man/navigator in World War II, he’d read poems while walking the dirt roads of Pontoise, France, after flying missions in his B-26 bomber. He was courageous and desperately believed in the power of good, truth and justice. Just like Superman. To me, he was. When he died, he was in the middle of completing a book on John Keats. I hope to finish it for him.

My mother is kind and caring. She inspires me with her courage to this day. She keeps reminding me that family is the heart of everything I do. And, without heart, words are just a bunch of consonants and letters plopped together.

My parents inspired me to write. My father was a reader. He always had books near him, and a day spent at the bookstore or library was one not wasted. Like him, I revel in books. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you that I have stacks of books near our bed. I’m always reading pieces of this and that, letting it wash over me, and create something new. As I said, I love words.

And, my wife and children.

As a writer, I didn’t know what I wanted to tell the world until I married my wife and now have three children. They opened a window for me upon a world I had never seen before. They gave me moments. And magic.

From the beginning, libraries played a huge part in what and who I have become. In grade school, we’d go to the library every Thursday for story time. We’d sit on pillows and listen as the Little Tugboat pulled and pulled, and I’d get lost in the words and the commas and even stop to admire the quotation marks.

Even now, I love libraries. I can spend hours in them, not going in for any particular book, but always coming out with a handful. Or bagfuls, which drives my wife crazy. Libraries hold treasures.

In fact, one of the first responses I ever read to my published writing was from Elizabeth Stearns at Waukegan Library. I live in Lake County, and was writing for the Pioneer Press newspapers at the time. She wrote me a great letter, in which she mentioned how much she loved what she did. Later, I offered a workshop at the Waukegan Library and finally had the chance to meet Elizabeth. Her enthusiasm and love of the library was strong.

Since then, I’ve written for the Chicago Tribune, Disney magazine, and Crossroads magazine. I’ve authored a book called Where Are We Going So Fast?, written and spoken for Chicken Soup for the Soul, and offer workshops on finding meaning and ourselves in moments. Plus, I’m a consultant who helps organizations use clear, real communication to get and keep employees and customers.”

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