In Conversation... is a new feature of The Burning Hearth featuring interviews with authors. For my first installment, I interview my dear friend Myles Hopper and discuss his debut book My Father’s Shadow. Welcome to The Burning Hearth’s In Conversation… with Myles.
On a personal note, I’m excited to announce that a flash fiction piece I wrote titled “Pigs Die” was selected for New Flash Fiction Review’s Fall Issue 2020. Please, if you have the time, click on the title above and check it out. Be sure to read the interview following my piece as well. It helps to explain how the story came to be.
IN COVERSATION…WITH MYLES
When I finished reading Myles Hopper’s My Father’s Shadow, I closed the book and placed it in my lap. I stared out the picture window of my living room awash in the orange hues of the setting sun and smiled. So tenderly and gracefully the author invites readers into some of the most intimate moments of his life; and by virtue of sharing his stories so honestly and without judgement, he allows readers to reflect upon similar moments of their own. Moments when newly discovered truths have undone us and freed us at the same time. Moments when we have let friends down. Moments when we have failed family. Moments when we have dropped everything and been there for friends and family in need. Moments when we were young, alone, and just trying to figure it all out. All these things, I sat in my living room reflecting upon as the day gave way to night.
Hopper is a gentle man. I know this, because I know him. But what I didn’t know until reading his book, is how every word he puts down on the page conveys this quality, this essence. I was most struck by how he writes about dark times and events in his life from such a place of light. This light, his light, allows readers permission to borrow and build upon his strength in their own lives. To open their hearts and allow room for understanding and forgiveness both for and of themselves and those they care about. By the end of My Father’s Shadow, it is impossible to believe any other way of living exists that can lead to healing.
Book Jacket Summary:
A little boy with hair the color red—his scarlet letter—and family secrets to be disclosed only decades later. A man late in life confronted with looming mortality. These are the bookends of My Father’s Shadow, a narrative nonfiction collection of timely stories with universal themes that are heartwarming, painful, distressing, humorous. This memoir examines how one person has managed to thrive in a world replete with wild imperfections and an eclectic array of people and relationships, some nurturing, others much less so. My Father’s Shadow delves deep into the pain and joy of life itself.
I couldn’t agree more. Arriving at the end of Hopper’s book is arriving at the beginning of a friendship. He so generously and open-heartedly allows his reader into his life. What a gift.
Myles Hopper is a cultural anthropologist and former faculty member at universities in Canada and the United States, and has lived in the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Israel. Now a full-time writer, his works have appeared in the anthology Family Stories from the Attic, the Jewish Literary Journal, Creative Wisconsin Anthology, and the anthology Friends: Voices on the Gift of Companionship. He and his wife live in Shorewood, Wisconsin, where, on many days, they can be seen together walking the bluff above Lake Michigan.
I hope you have enjoyed The Burning Hearth’s first edition of In Conversation…. My Father’s Shadow can be ordered at Amazon or your local bookstore.
For The Burning Hearth’s November/December post I am teaming up with Lydia Mikkael the author of the blog The Naked Being. Lydia is a seeker and a story-teller, and I have found her to be an optimist on the ability for the human condition to heal itself. She and I will be writing on holiday traditions and rituals. Click on the links above to see who Lydia is and what she is working on. Until next time, stay safe and well!