Bill Richardson

Bill-Richardson-2013I was very sorry to learn of the passing of writer Bill Richardson of Santa Barbara.  I met Bill several years ago in a Montecito coffeehouse and had some opportunities to talk with him. I never took one of his classes but I knew he was a writer, teacher, and a veteran of military service. He mentioned other things he loved to do in his life, such as dancing and hunting. As his obituary in The Independent explains, he was a renaissance man, who lived by his own lights.

Bill was kind, thoughtful, and attentive. He told me about serving in WWII and living high up on Mountain Drive. I remember when he mentioned the loss of his home to fire in 2008. His words were stoic, accepting of life on life’s terms, but there was unambiguous sorrow in his eyes.

Bill always had notebooks with him; he was writing toward sundown. May all we writers have such insight. And when he asked about my writing and what I was working on, he listened. He was ready with a word of encouragement, so I knew I had met a good teacher.


Your World

However your world is viewed, it must be your own … Only through a vigorous exactitude of presentation can the essential strangeness of life be conveyed … You’ll never be able to write a novel as long as you have the illusion that … the world you know is too dull and commonplace. 

- John Braine

Writing a Novel (1974)

Love and Time

So a few days ago I was listening to the audiobook version of Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. What a beautiful thing. It begins:

There is no scatheless rapture. Love and time put me in this condition. I’m leaving soon for the Nightland, where all the ghosts of men and animals yearn to travel. We’re called to it. I feel it pulling at me, same as everyone else. It is the last unmapped country, and a dark way getting there. A sorrowful path. And maybe not exactly Paradise at the end.

Now I’m not evangelizing that character’s metaphysic. But I felt called to make my own uphill assault on that word, Nightland, and see what words might appear. So let that serve as epigraph, is my point.




When we are alive, everything is easy.
Hair can be touched with fingers
that have learned about thorns
and roses have a scent that the mind
isn’t forced to imagine. Clouds appear
and pass slowly, so we only need to look.
In life — Dear God — there are oranges,
rivers, violins, and hours just
waiting for the bread to rise.

In the Nightland, years go by
in a struggle just to remember
these gifts. There is no fruit
no sense of taste, no gentle breeze to bring
the clouds toward us from the sea.
We spend a century imagining 
brown hair tucked behind a girl’s ear,
then go on dreaming of papers
tacked to a crumbling wall.
Because now we are merely dreams
that never end but are always fading,
slowly forgetting the living world. 


Kyle Kimberlin
March 5, 2014



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