October 29, 2010

Growing Up Amish…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:49 pm


He heard again, as he had heard throughout his childhood,
the pounding wheel…the whistle-wail, and he remembered
how these sounds…had always evoked for him…their glorious
promises of new lands, morning, and a shining city…

…The magnetic pull of home, why he had thought so much
about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy…

—Thomas Wolfe

It seemed so intimidating, back then, six months ago. So, well, daunting. But they smiled, the Tyndale people. Reassuringly. Of course it could be done. Especially after we got together for a day, and picture-boarded the story. All I had to do then was connect the dots. Fill in the blanks.

But that’s not how I write, I wanted to tell them. It’s an organic thing, to me. The process. I never quite know how the story will end, what details will emerge.

Trust us, they said.

And so I did. Had little choice, really. They were giving me an opportunity so rare, it was almost incomprehensible. A major publishing company, and they wanted my story. A lot of people dream of and strive for that all their lives, and never get the chance.

And so I began, six months ago. Working on my book. Since that time, it has been the primary focus of my life. Always there, every waking moment. Day after day, and week after week. Always there, lurking in my mind, with me as I faced each day.

Normally, I think, a manuscript is written from start to finish. Then submitted for editing. It freaked me out a good bit, to think of that. What if it wasn’t what they wanted, after all that effort?

Once again, the nice Tyndale people smiled kindly. They’d seen it all before, I’m sure. Newbie writers freaking out. We would work it out, they said. Just write a few chapters every month, and send those in. That way, we can give you feedback as you write.

So that’s what we did. All summer. Every month, another batch. I kept plugging away. Sent in forty to sixty pages a month, right along. Earlier today, I emailed the sixth and final section. Except for editing and rewriting, which will be an intense process, it’s done. The first draft of the book is written. A huge milestone in my life. Just huge.

This weekend, for the first time in six months, I plan to relax. Vedge, as in couch potato, watching football. No agenda, nothing. And most of all, for a few days, at least, there will be no writing on my mind.

It’s been an intense road. Both the writing, and the extended journey back through the years. Back to places I had not been for decades. Places buried in my mind. And buried for a reason.

The memories came roaring back, from all those miles and years. I pried them open, swept aside the cobwebs, and ventured in. Flinched, sometimes, at what I found. Turned my face away. There are some places in the past you just don’t go, not willingly. But I did. Forced myself. Looked around, and wrote. Some of the scenes were among the most brutally tough things I’ve ever tried to write. Stuff you’ve never seen on my blog.

What in the world could I have been thinking, way back, when it all came down? The pride and folly of youth. So raw, so selfish, so thoughtless. That was part of it. And yet, pulsing through it all, the hungry relentless yearning of the human spirit to live free, to touch and see and know. And taste. That was part of it, too.

The summer flew by. I kept plugging on. Through it all, I tried to keep a normal schedule. Or as normal as possible. Still working full time at my real job. Working out at the gym. Stirring up occasional fights, uh, discussions, on Facebook. Still watching baseball, Nascar, then football. Still writing a bit on the blog, now and then. Each month, I focused only on the writing due that month. Didn’t allow myself to think much, even, that it was for a book. Just get it written. You can absorb it all soon enough, what it is and what it really means.

And then, last month, an email from Carol Traver, the senior nonfiction editor at Tyndale. The lady who, at her sole discretion, decided to take the risk, to present to the Tyndale Board the proposal for my book. Now, she had designed a cover for the book, and wanted to run it by me. Make sure I approved. I opened the file. Scrolled down. And there it was. It took my breath away.

That’s not me, walking away, although it could be me. The cover is beautiful, and stunningly symbolic. The Tyndale people are true professionals, all of them. At that moment, it really hit me for the first time. This was the culmination of all my efforts, all those hours of sweat and labor through six long and intense months. All that time, spent writing this past summer, would eventually result in this. A real book, that you can pick up and hold in your hands. And read. A real book, in real bookstores.

I recoiled a bit at the title. At least, at first. But Carol explained. They wanted some- thing simple, something easily passed on by word of mouth. I would, of course, be welcome to suggest other titles. They will consider all offers.

So here’s a contest for my readers. If you can think of a better title, email me. Or just post it here on the blog. If Tyndale accepts your suggestion, I’ll give you fifty bucks in cash, and a signed copy of the book. Remember, simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. And, of course, the word “Amish” included somehow.

They plan to release the book next summer sometime. As of now, no specific date has been set. I’ll keep you posted.

Summer reading, for 2011. Spread the word.



  1. Somebody, but not a well known author, already used the suggestion I came up with, “Born Amish”. (It plays off of “Born Free”, and I don’t think it’s passive) The book was published in 08 by Acclaim Press. ABA, I think, and also not well known. Perhaps Tyndale would consider the suggestion, if you like it.

    Comment by Jerry Eicher — October 29, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  2. Ira, I am so excited for you. What a blessing to have this behind you. I never doubted your ability to pull this off. And, that cover gives me goosebumps. I can’t wait to get a copy.

    Comment by LLJ — October 29, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  3. How about “Amish Heritage”? It seems like it may have been used already, but I don’t know. By the way, I do like that you mention something on Facebook when you post a new blog.

    Comment by Fred Graber — October 29, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

  4. Amish No More.

    Comment by Carol — October 29, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

  5. I couldn’t think of a better title nor better cover.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — October 29, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

  6. The cover looks great. The lettering at the top really tops it off (pun intended). Somehow the picture and title grabs me, then “A memoir by Ira Wagler” draws me on in. I believe this would be my experience even if I didn’t know Ira Wagler. Kudos to the art people at Tyndale.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — October 29, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  7. Amish Roots.

    Comment by Delores — October 29, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

  8. love it!!!!!!!!!!!! congrats–soooo excited for you!

    Comment by dorothy — October 29, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  9. I don’t think you’re going to do any better than that – “Growing up Amish.” It’s said just the way an Amish person would say it. I’m going to buy this book. Get it done oncet!

    Comment by Mike — October 29, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  10. I can’t wait to buy it. I’m really excited for you!:)

    p.s. I like Carol’s “Amish No More”.

    Comment by Beth — October 29, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  11. Years ago when we began our friendship and you revealed to me your quest was to someday write a book, I never for a moment doubted you. I could see that your drive and intelligent persistence would take you exactly where you wanted to go. Now that you are almost there, I couldn’t think of a more deserving person. Your “opportunity so rare, it was almost incomprehensible,” was in God’s plan for you, and now all you have to do is give thanks and revel in it.

    Congratulations Ira, we look forward to reading it.

    Comment by Kevin J Southam — October 29, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

  12. Congratulations! I eagerly await the day I can order my very own copy and read it.

    I think the title works very well and I agree with Reuben that the word “memoir” is important to the overall appeal of the cover. I really like the picture; it seems to suggest leaving something behind and it makes me want to open the cover and try to put a face to the figure who is walking away.

    Comment by Ed Yoder — October 30, 2010 @ 12:18 am

  13. Congratulations Ira! I am waiting in anticipation of a good read when your book, “FROM AMISH TO ENGLISH” is published.

    Comment by David Stoll — October 30, 2010 @ 1:17 am

  14. That cover is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the story of the birth of your written story. I can’t wait to read it!

    My title suggestion is “Amish by Birth”. I think it leaves a little more to be discovered than “Growing up Amish”, but am not sure it fits the tenor of your memoir.

    All the best!

    Comment by Becca — October 30, 2010 @ 1:51 am

  15. i love your title and cover layout, i can’t wait to own a book, either by buying or earning. you asked, so here’s my idea;

    ‘i was amish once’

    congrats on your hard work, go watch them yankees…..er, i mean, rangers.

    Comment by lil nissley — October 30, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  16. No offense to Carol but I don’t much like the title “Amish No More.” It sounds too liberated or something and it’s not like all Amish are just dying to not be Amish anymore.

    I am proud of my uncle’s talent and original writing style.

    Comment by Gideon — October 30, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  17. The title is a great double entendre. You’ll see it; I believe it is part of your destiny, the good inheritance (Relentless Generational Blessings) of your father and his heart for the community.

    Comment by LeRoy — October 30, 2010 @ 11:19 am

  18. Just one “edit” to your blog, Ira: It’s a real book you can hold in your hands and read–and reread–and reread!

    Comment by Susan — October 30, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  19. “I Was Amish”

    Comment by Hannah — October 30, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  20. Going, Going, Gone: One Man’s Exodus from the Amish.

    Or an homage to a hero (with a pun)– Can’t Go Home Again: Leaving the Amish for Good

    How many entries per person? I may be on a roll here!

    Comment by Kate — October 30, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  21. So excited, both for you (because your book will be out), and for me (because I can’t wait to read your book). I could go run around the house right now (this is always what I thought I would do if I was really, really, really over the moon excited about something).

    Anyway, potential title? “Amish Man Walking” (sort of an overly simplistic title, sounds a bit like the title of a portrait or something, plus a play on the “dead man walking” thing). Just a thought. The working title also sounds good, and the cover is striking.

    Well done, man.

    Comment by shawn smucker — October 30, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

  22. Congrats Ira. Tyndale did a great job with the cover, but I think the title should simply be “A WILD AMISH BOY.” Just kidding!!!

    Comment by Phil Graber — October 30, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

  23. ira good job
    a few great ideas are just rolling here are a few…
    leaving the Amish For Dummies
    a step by step guide for leaving the Amish
    leaving the Amish, do it your self.
    i was so naive
    i was innocent

    the sequel of course will be titled
    if i would have stayed

    see ya

    Comment by dave nissley — October 31, 2010 @ 8:16 am

  24. I suggest “Amish Pictures” with the subtitle: ‘color sketches from a plain world.’
    Amish Pictures is sort of an oxymoron and creates a little question/riddle.
    “Growing up Amish,” I suspect, has been used 50+ times already. And everyone is writing memoirs, so we don’t need that word; let’s please have something original!!(Your nephew Gideon and I were brainstorming today; he supplied the ‘sketches’ words in the title. =))

    Comment by Anita — October 31, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  25. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this title and the cover.  It has to stay as it is.  The only thing might be a few tweaks to the design. But the title combined with the theme of a young Amish boy walking away… powerful imagery. 

    This book is about soul.  The author baring his soul in order to speak into our souls.  It’s going to be powerful but it has to be packaged to generate buzz and to compel sales or the power is wasted.   

    Cute doesn’t cut it here. Puns don’t cut it. Describing the book doesn’t cut it. It has to be a title that draws in several audiences, including the Amish novel loving crowd. Besides that, the title should not turn off the Amish and Mennonite crowd.  

    I can’t think of a better way to combine the mystique and the buzz this book needs to maximize its sales than where they are going. 

    Sales is where it’s at. Yes, the message will be valuable but without sales the message will not get out.  So the cover has to be about sales. Period. 

    Note:  I am not a professional but this is stuff I think about and study.  My opinion here (and that’s all it is, the opinion of a random non-professional) is based on bringing what I have learned to my analysis of this case.  Of course, I reserve the right to change my opinion.

    Comment by Richard Miller — October 31, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  26. Congratulations on your accomplishment! I came across your blog a couple months ago, and read it non-stop from start to finish, to the neglect of my family and everything else. Your more nuanced perspective of the Amish was greatly appreciated. I eagerly look forward to reading your book.

    There have already been two books published by the title “Growing Up Amish.” How about “Amish Memories,” or “An Amish Boyhood?” I like “I Was Amish,” but maybe that is a problem because of passive voice. I also had the idea: “Look Back, Amish,” as a take off on a Thomas Wolfe novel, but that might be silly with the wonderful cover photo your editors picked out.

    Comment by Naomi Wilson — October 31, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

  27. I enjoy your blog very much, although I’ve never commented before. However, your title challenge was too much to resist: Look Homeward Amish (yes, that was a *joke.*)

    Comment by Suzanne Schroeder — October 31, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

  28. Home and back again: A memoir of growing up Amish

    Comment by Linky — October 31, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  29. Precious memories, poignant memories, some I would sooner forget. All stitched together like a quilt. Mine is different from yours or any others, but that is partially what rivets our attention. After all the embarrassing things have lost their bite, we discover that all of us have the same moments of brilliance and also utter stupidity that we had hoped to keep out of sight.

    Having grown up Amish and now living in the area of your youth, (Aylmer) I recognize a lot of names and places of which you speak. My suggestion for a title is “Beyond The Buggy.” Whatever the name, along with many others, I look forward to a good read!

    Comment by Eli Stutzman — November 1, 2010 @ 9:30 am

  30. How exciting to actually see your cover of whatever the “title” ends up to be. I agree “Growing up Amish” just doesn’t seem to capture the essence of you. You are so much more than “Growing up Amish”. I see you as maybe “Growing up Amish, a Contentious Willed Amish Son” Whatever it turns out to be, I know that it will be perfect. I cannot wait to buy a copy and read, maybe I will see the “Growing up Amish”, once I read it. Congratulations Ira!

    Comment by Luann — November 1, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  31. I am sure your efforts will impact, bless and bring closure to many Amish seeking their own destiny.
    Here is a suggeted title;

    “Amish Boy”
    Walking towards an unknown destiny.


    Comment by Ben Girod — November 1, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  32. Amish Beginnings ” Destiny Unknown”


    Amish At Birth

    ?? Just some random thoughts. Not as simple though….

    Comment by Smucker — November 1, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  33. Guess I should have read the comment previous to mine! “Look Back Amish” is very, very good though! If you think about it, most non-fiction books about the Amish have very straightfoward titles, and Amish fiction titles tend toward the “inspirational,” Look Back Amish has a certain wit to it, with the Wolfe reference, which would distinguish it. And, you *are* looking back. Naomi Wilson should get the 50 bucks.

    Comment by Suzanne Schroeder — November 1, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  34. I think Richard Miller covered it very well. It would be very hard to come up with a better title for what the purpose of this book is. Some fancy catchphrase sounds fun and funny when you roll them over your tongue, but in the real world short, simple phrases make much better titles than longer, fancy ones.

    Now having almost 7 years of experience with Choice Books I am getting to the point where I can look at the cover of a book and often tell you if it will work or not (especially in the markets that I am working in). This cover will sell. Don’t mess it up now!

    Comment by Lester Graber — November 1, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  35. Here’s a book with a similar title.


    Comment by David — November 1, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

  36. I think that ‘Look Back, Amish’ is an amazing title for your book. It actually gave me a physical rush and a ton of emotions flooded my mind….

    Is it a command?
    If so, by who?

    The ministers? This would bring to mind the control of the ultimate authority in the Amish/Mennonite world… next to God, these men were. Are they commanding the boy to come back? Back to the restraints & the facade? Back to submission? Reminding him that the road ahead is the road to destruction… the road to hell… Look Back… Look back at the ‘narrow way’ the RIGHT way… the ONLY way…….. COME BACK!!!!

    Is it his father?
    Look back at me, son… look at what I am to you…. don’t leave your heritage… don’t leave your ‘home’… look, your mom is weeping…. what will this do to our family… to your brothers & sisters? you will be shunned… Don’t turn your back on me boy!!!

    Is it your peers?
    Are they mocking you? calling you Amish when you are no longer Amish? or are you? Can you EVER be free of the ‘heritage’ that has been a part of you since birth?
    Are they daring you? Do you have the guts to do this? the audacity? Who dares to spit in the face of male domination & ‘kick the hornet’s nest’ of the patriarchal society? (yeah i just finished that book haha) Look Back, young wild free spirited Amish boy… I DARE you….
    Or are your peers gently encouraging you to face up to the past… with all its brokenness, it’s frustration, it’s heartbreaks, it’s ‘heritage’… will this be the key to your healing?

    Is it the reader?
    I feel the lure of the words… yet I am afraid… do I DARE tread on this sacred memory? Who am I to share these intimacies? What if it brings back my OWN memories of the past… I know it will… I will fight the battle of the struggle for freedom… my throat will ache with the uncried wails of the years…. I will exult in the expressions of the wild independence of an untamed spirit… I WANT you to look back… I want to SEE who you are…. I HATE that your back is turned… PLEASE please don’t turn your back on me because I need to see that you are all right…

    “They” are STILL calling you Amish!

    Ira, I wrote this out on your website, then I forgot to do the code thing so I lost my words…. I took the time, this time around, to really express my heart.
    Growing Up Amish is a boring title… mundane.. doesn’t capture my interest! ‘Look Back, Amish’ was my thought even BEFORE i saw it in the comments! It is a challenge, a plea, a command, a dare, a threat, an insult, an assignment…
    I LOVE IT!

    p.s. you don’t need to give me any recognition for this, ok

    Copied from a private message. Admin

    Comment by admin — November 2, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  37. Almost, in the last comment, almost the writer has it. The title should be “Look Back, Amish Son.”

    Comment by David — November 2, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  38. “I was Amish Once” This is a variation on a very well known story about the battle of the Ia Drang valley in 1965 so know from where I thought of it.

    Comment by Mark Hersch — November 2, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  39. Amish Boy,
    American Man

    The Odyssey of
    Ira Wagler

    Comment by Roland — November 2, 2010 @ 11:41 pm

  40. I just can’t decide, I must ponder more. I agree that “Growing up Amish” seems like it’s been used before, and I like the idea of “Look Back, Amish Son”, but I’m not sure that title would make sense to your general audience that has no knowledge of the Amish heritage- It would obviously make sense once they read it….I’ll keep thinking!

    On another note- I was wandering through B&N last night by the new releases and was just thinking to myself that it won’t be long til your book is there!

    Comment by Janice — November 3, 2010 @ 12:41 am

  41. Ira, I have no ideas for a title change. How can YOUR story really be summed up in just a few words? Please be sure to post dates of any future Lancaster County area book signings.

    Comment by Robert Miller — November 3, 2010 @ 7:43 am

  42. I don’t know if there is a better pick than what you’ve got. I chuckled at the “Beyond the Buggy” title. Actually I liked it, but I understand you want Amish in the title.

    How about “Steel Wheels and Sweat, I Grew up Amish”.

    I think the title you have is fine!!!

    Comment by Gerald D Hochstetler, Jr — November 4, 2010 @ 7:49 am

  43. My favorite so far is the original, “Growing Up Amish”. The title with accompanying cover speaks volumes, yet not too much.

    Reflections on some of the above suggestions:

    “Amish Boy, American Man” resonates well.

    I like “Once I Was Amish” better than “I Was Amish Once”.

    And finally, just for fun, here’s my title:
    “Wild Branches From Amish Roots”.

    Comment by Marlaine — November 4, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  44. How about “Pulled Up By the Amish”.


    Comment by Joe Y — November 4, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  45. What is the book about??? Growing Up Amish. The cover picture speaks volumes.

    Comment by rachel hochstetler — November 4, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  46. Ever since we have discovered this blog, my daughter and I always try to be the first to find a new post. We love it! I got a lot of chuckles from the comments this time round! You sure have a loyal fan base, Ira, we included! Here’s another try… My Amish Roots: Memories & Musings

    Comment by Mary S — November 5, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  47. Ira,I really like the proposed cover for your book & thought “From Amish Roots” would be a good title. Your second cousin from Ks.Paul

    Comment by Paul Wagler/ — November 6, 2010 @ 3:56 am

  48. An observation. It is interesting to see how title suggestions generally arise from what people see connecting with their own personal cognitive connections and metaphors, and not with what will draw others in. That is not a criticism. It’s an observation. It’s because God is making me think about this in my own communication.

    May He bless you (His Spirit arises within you) as you do revisions, edits, and expansions.

    Comment by LeRoy — November 6, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  49. Great job Ira, I really like the cover. Makes me think of “Restless and Amish” or “Restless Amish Boy”. Whatever title you ultimately decide on will be just fine. I’m looking forward to reading what is between the covers!

    May God bless, E.S. Gingerich

    Comment by E.S.Gingerich — November 6, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  50. Congratulations on your project.I’m looking forward to reading the finished product.

    Comment by Carol — November 6, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  51. This image evokes a deep emotion for me. Perfection.

    Comment by Lynn — November 6, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

  52. How about “Turn Back, Amish Son! or “From Amish Beginnings” or “From Amish to Worldly” (tongue in cheek) or “Amish Outset, English Ending”. I also like “From Amish to English”, as mentioned before. “Growing up Amish” is certainly descriptive, but I think it could be a bit more imaginative. Can’t wait to read the book, by the way!

    Comment by Glenna — November 7, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  53. Ira, I think that “Balancing The Budget” would be the best title ever . . . No? The pun is too obscure? Seriously, I think that the current title is perfect. Congratulations on the book! Becky and I eagerly await its publication; so exciting.

    Comment by Mark Graham — November 13, 2010 @ 7:41 am

  54. ‘Born Amish, Living English’

    Comment by Paul H — November 16, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  55. “A Sacrificial Amish Life”

    Comment by Lee Nelson Hall Junior — November 16, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  56. “Loving and Leaving the Amish”

    Comment by Miriam Iwashige — November 16, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  57. The title for the book will of course have to be the line that you, Ira, have made famous. “It is what it is.”

    If you need to put Amish in it, call it “Amish, they are what they are.”

    Comment by Paul H — November 18, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  58. With apologies to “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms” (Gasp!), how about “Under Amish Skies” or maybe “Under an Amish Sun”.

    Comment by jason yutzy — November 18, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  59. @ Gideon…in no way was I suggesting all Amish would be better off “English” with my title submission. It simply popped into my head while trying to come up with a short but descriptive title. However, in hindsight, and not having read the book to know the basic underlying theme, I might suggest something more like “Taking a Different Path,” “Down a Different Road” or “Walking Away.” Since the picture itself speaks volumes, I am not sure the word “Amish” need appear in the title. By the way, I will also be following your blog from now on…looks like very interesting stuff.

    Comment by Carol — November 20, 2010 @ 11:44 am

  60. what does English have to do with this?
    the English people are residents of England. I know the amish call nonamish people the “English people”, but it would make no sense outside of the amish communities.

    Comment by Gerald D Hochstetler, Jr — November 30, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  61. I should have said, ” from England or residents of England.

    Comment by Gerald D Hochstetler, Jr — November 30, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  62. “It’s an Amish World” this title fits because:
    -you will never truly leave your childhood.
    -your worldview will always be coloured
    -you will always wonder what if
    -there will always be amish who do not see beyond, they cannot escape their world
    -you can turn your back but it’s still there
    -the mindset will never die, it transforms itself to other groups worldwide
    -there will be times when you wish you were back, but it is a world away….

    Comment by Darren Cook — December 26, 2010 @ 10:26 am

  63. ‘Shmeah Kase’,An Amish Memoir

    Comment by DY — December 28, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  64. Leave it the way it is. It is completely beautiful.

    Bob Mutch

    Comment by bobmutch — January 31, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  65. I didn’t think “Growing up Amish” was bad. Truth be told, when I saw the word Amish my heart leapt with sheer joy. I’ve always had an interest in this culture. It’s true, though. Titles are important. The first impression. It truly is a wonderful book, your story. It takes great courage to tell the world who you are. So many will stomp on your vulnerable heart, criticize you, shame you for telling the truth, kick you when you’re down. But….so many more will encourage you, spur you on, nurture you, hold your hand, and just plain love on you, before, during and after you exposed your sensitive innards.

    I’m reading a book, which I own, have no idea where it came from, about Charles Dickens. The book is extremely dry, which is most disappointing since I think Dickens is, err was, an amazing writer and so in tune to his world. Yeah, I’m getting off track…anyway, the book starts with a quote which I related to you. “Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.” -Walt Whitman Actually, I claim this as true for myself, as well. There is no greater gift which one possesses than that of himself.

    Comment by Francine — December 23, 2012 @ 1:15 am

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