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Want to Borrow Me?

It’s always nice to have some idea of what to expect from a book before starting to read it. I’m happy to oblige. Within these pages, you will encounter philosophy, satire, fictional and nonfictional fiction, some rants about the state of automobile travel in the twenty-first century, and even a tiny bit of verse—all mixed in with a healthy dose of wisdom gleaned from authors who admittedly have much more right to be in print than I do.

A word about the fictional and nonfictional fiction—if I have done my work successfully, you won’t be able to tell the difference although members of my family and those who know me well may recognize me themselves and a number of actual events that I have woven into the chapters. Some of these tales are memoirs, and most are primarily about ideas. I have chosen this format to avoid punishing the innocent—or the guilty, as the case may be. (I number myself among those in the latter category.)

Throughout these twenty-one chapters, prepare to discover an empathetic detective, two unbidden pregnancies, two exceptional house cats, atheists and fanatics, an unlikely murderer, and two lonely souls at the opposite ends of life.

I also offer you a fictional professor and his explorations into ethics, morality, society, religion, and even the meaning of time, a topic of some concern to all of us but especially to those who, like myself, are running out of that commodity. The professor’s name is Noah Armstrong, and in the novella “Responsibility,” he faces a very real crisis in his personal life. Noah and his students are amalgams of many persons I have known over thirty-six years of full-time teaching at Acadia University in Wolfville (with a little bit of myself thrown in here and there for good measure).

You may be tempted to assume that the opinions and positions that emerge from the professor’s classes are my own. Some are; some aren’t. If I have learned anything after almost eight decades of living, it is that when once I believed I knew a lot about how the universe functions, I am now faced with far more questions than answers.

But that didn’t stop me from having my say.