Writing takes many forms and can capture the imagination of both the writer and the reader. A longtime writer – and former newspaper editor – shares his writing in this new collection of essays, fiction, columns and observations. Author Dirk Q. Allen explores the mysterious death of a young Army sergeant, offers three novel excerpts, observations, a lecture on journalism and commentary on a variety of subjects, including Santa Claus.
“Notes for a Book” features the true story of Laura Cecere, 26, a former high school athlete and Army sergeant who disappeared from Fort Campbell in 1996 and hasn’t been found since; her jawbone was mailed to a television station the next summer but the case remains unsolved. Allen showcases his imaginative side with a few chapters of fictional stories set in Providence, R.I.; Moscow; and New York City. His commentary features subjects that run the gamut, although most loosely connect to politics. Columns on U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Abraham Lincoln’s legacy as a president, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the War on Terror and the economic embargo of Cuba mingle with a farewell to his newspaper career, singer Dusty Springfield’s death and a family wedding.
Aspiring journalists got a taste of his work with an overview lecture about a profession that requires writers to be the eyes and ears of a community and presenting “news you can use,” as he writes. Whether making thoughtful observations about hiring American workers, pithy comments about pasta or writing about a family tragedy, Allen’s writing, steeped in his years of experience as a communicator, commands attention.