Thursday, December 27, 2007

Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac: "What My Father Believed"

Garrison Keillor's reading of my poem "What My Father Believed" from my book Lightning and Ashes is now available at the Writers Almanac site:

This poem talks about my father's faith, how he learned about God in Poland as a child, and how his faith sustained him in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy 2008 to All our Friends and Family!

I’m back writing the Christmas letter this year. Linda filled in for me last year, and she received a lot of excellent reviews, and in the past three or four weeks, she’s received letters asking her to continue doing the Guzillo Christmas letter. A lot of these letters came following her recent blog about pecan picking in Georgia. But we made a deal last year, so I’m back doing it this year.

I want to mention first that Linda’s Uncle Charlie died in August. Some of you who’ve read my blogs about him know he had pancreatic cancer that grew increasingly bad over the summer. Linda and I drove down to Florida a number of times to be with him and help him as his condition got worse. He died quietly in his sleep on August 24th. We’ll miss him.

Linda’s big news is that she’s decided to retire as of July 1, 2008. She’s been envying how laidback I’ve been since I retired, and she finally turned in her letter. I’ve noticed already that she seems more laidback than before. In fact, our cat Samantha has been spending more time sleeping on her stomach than on mine. I may have to get my own cat if Linda gets any more laidback.

Linda’s plans for our retirement? We hope to do more traveling. We’ve started talking about a big, long, two or three week cruise through the Panama Canal and up the boot of Baja, California, and out across the Pacific, maybe to Hawaii or maybe further to Tahiti or Thailand or Taiwan. Or maybe we’ll just stay here in the states and do a Casino Crawl from Las Vegas to Henderson to Reno and Winnemucca, Nevada.

By the way, she wanted me to tell you all that the pecan picking this year has been superb. Bigger nuts and more of them! She thinks it may have something to do with the presidential primaries that are coming up.

Lillian continues to enjoy teaching in Danville. This is her fourth year at George Washington High, and she’s recently been tenured. Like her mom, Lillian is interested in going beyond the classroom. She’s been commuting to Lynchburg College two or three nights a week this year, where she’s been working on her Master’s in Educational Leadership. This coming May she’ll be getting that Master’s. By the way, this last summer, she served as principal at her high school! She expelled five students!

I’ve been focusing on my writing. I published Lightning and Ashes and Third Winter of War. The latter was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Right now, I’m working on a novel about a German soldier in Russia during WWII. Joyce Carol Oates published the first chapter in her journal Ontario Review. I’m also blogging as fast as I can and doing presentations about my parents all over the place, and if you read this before December 28 you can hear Garrison Keillor reading my poem “What My Father Believed” on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac.

Love from us to you,

Linda and John
(the photos? First it's a plate of Christmas bulbs, then Linda and her brother Bruce, then Lillian, then my sister Donna and me in a refugee camp in Germany.)