When people know you write, they look at you and treat you differently. And they expect you to be able to come up with brilliant sayings anyplace and anytime. That’s not how it works, at least not for me. Writing is a struggle, a constant war with myself, with my external and internal critics, with procrastination, with doubt, with then, yay!, when I’m lucky, the occasional aha moment. But, for me, it’s also a necessity. I can do and have done other things, but nothing gives me the same satisfaction as creating something from nothing. If I can find the exact right word or descriptive phrase, if I can illuminate one problem, if I can shed light on one issue, if I can teach or learn, if I can entertain others or myself, then I’m happy. As I said to a friend recently, one of the last things to go in my life will be my need to know, and writing is what gives me answers.

Photo: The Daily Cal Newsroom, Berkeley circa 1960. Then known as Eshleman Hall, the building is now named Moses Hall.