Why I’m Here

A little over three year ago, I retired and began thinking about what came next.  I enjoyed a busy, successful career, but there was more I wanted to try.  Aside from resting up after 43 years practicing law, I wanted to see if I could write a novel.  Publication was not the goal when I began the project which became known as “The Leaves Are Full of Children.”  The goal was to see if I could write something to my own satisfaction, something that would meet my own high personal standards – personal standards established after a lifetime of collecting and reading Willa Cather, Robert Nathan, E. B. White, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, John Barth, Walter van Tilburg Clark, Evelyn Waugh, Paul Auster, Wallace Stegner, John Fowles, Ian McEwan, James Thurber, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ross Macdonald, and many others.

While it is difficult to judge your own work, I am satisfied with my efforts.  Publication is now of interest, if only to give the characters the life they’ve earned during the struggle of creation, a struggle in which they were able conspirators.  Whether or not publication will occur remains an open issue as of this writing.

In the meantime, I enjoy visiting my Valley.  It has become real to me.  Of course, it has antecedents in reality, but it is known to me by means of a shaded mixture of imagination and memory.  It isn’t the valley in which I grew up, and yet it is; it isn’t a place of fantasy, and yet it doesn’t exist except in the portion of my imagination which I have been able to transfer to the printed page.  But whichever it is, it is my refuge.

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About Stephen Ellis

Stephen Ellis is the author of Fortunate Son, a novel of Sahaptin Valley
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