A major inspiration was my high school
English teacher, Lella Foster Moudy. Another
inspiration was the church and the King
James Bible. Its sonorous tones were part
of my early life, both through sermons and
readings on Sundays and through private
devotions through the week.
Though my home town was too small to have
a library, we owned a small library at home,
and I used the school library, working there
when I was in high school. In high school, I
also edited the mimeographed newspaper
put out by the student council.
In college, my double major of English and
journalism insured that I studied Chaucer
and Shakespeare and many other
outstanding users of the language.
I did a lot of writing. I edited the Optimist, the
student newspaper at Abilene Christian
College, and helped put myself through
college by writing news releases and other
copy for the publicity offices of Abilene
Christian and Pepperdine Colleges (before it
moved to Malibu).
For 24 years, I worked as one of the editors
of 20th Century Christian Magazine and
wrote eight books on the Bible, time
management, Christian women and urban
On our recent trip to the Huntington, we
figured out that it had been 30 years since I
did research there on the British Romantic
poet Lord Byron. That was when we became
intimately acquainted with the Huntington,
and we've loved it ever since.
My book on aging, The Victory Lap, is due out
just before the Pepperdine Lectures in May.
I'll be teaching a class on the subject the
afternoon of May 8 and signing my books
after the main lecture May 7.
In 2005, I began writing this emagazine on
various topics that interest me, and I hope
at least some of my readers.
In all these endeavors, I’ve enjoyed using the
English language with its large vocabulary,
its flexibility and beauty. I appreciate its
structure. I enjoy the flow of a well-crafted
Often Frank and I sit reading together, and
occasionally I’ll stop and read him a
few lines of anything from a mystery story to a
book about the language that catches my eye
I enjoy more recent writers like P. D. James,
Walter Mosley and Alexander McCall Smith. I
also like to go back and reread the classics.
But mostly, I enjoy using the language to
write, as simply and clearly as I’m able, in an
attempt to communicate with other human
beings. I have always loved the language.
I have always loved the language. We talked a lot in my childhood
home, and because my father owned the Happy Herald, a small
weekly newspaper in Happy, Texas, from the time I was 10, we wrote
a lot as well. I had a steady supply of paper to write on from the shop,
and my parents encouraged education.
My hometown of Happy, Texas, with its big skies,
storms (top), the Happy Herald (one-story buiding
behind the two-story Corner Drugstore with hotel on
second floor), sign from highway and grain elevators