Translate; in memory of Bill Manville (W.H. Manville) who died Valentine’s 2017

Translate my pain into inspiration.
A grief that turns my heart to sterling,
A metal that will not leave me stranded,
A mourning that imbeds a jasper arrowhead.
He has gone, looping his words between
His memory and mine. Remaining.
Older brother of soul, teacher of order,
He had taken Valentines, paper cutouts,
Red hearts and Pink silliness,
Dark visions combating the light.
Wrapped them in cushions of unsweetened
Advice, given freely, powerful in their
Scent of citrus, their odor of sage.
Wholesome and forgiving. He listened.
Silence now that his breathing
Has erred on the side of quiet.
His heart filled with the love
A teacher has for student.
Transient as they grow, but his eternal.
I must write to find my heart again
Where I laid it out for him.
How many, many types of love there are.
So many ways taking the crystal bonds,
Which when broken remain
In our memory of precious laughter,
Honest criticism, layers upon layers of
Rebuilding. He gave these seeds to us
To plant in our inner gardens, to bloom.
Watered by tears of grief, blinked,
They will grow. Tiny green hopes, words,
Writer to writer. Clearing weeds
Nourishing plots of future dreams.
I hear his voice in the wind
Teasing me, scolding me, holding me close.
Calling me to finish what I had begun,
To love those he loved, to work, to stand
On two feet knowing he believed in us.
We must carry his gift to us,
The world’s visions, the expected literacy.
Must share our voices, must care, we must,
Even when the caring scares and scars us.
His footprints stay with us, his books,
His stories, his belief that the world
Must read, write, share and pass
The compassion of an old friend to a new.
We carry him now, heart to heart.
We will honor him by our words, soon.
But written as the storms come,
Rain beating the earth in a primal flood
As he flows away from us, following the flood
Of our sorrow. The transportation of our hearts,
Flooded and sitting now filled with salty tears.
Our memories are precious, sketch in words,
Written as the tears streak, but forming
Wary wry smiles, smiles that will not betray.
Oh the memory of those smiles, he loved us.
I will carry him with me in my pocket of life.
Filled with random pebbles, coins, a leaf,
An acorn or two, a magic ring, a fallen star.
This hole of sorrow, this well of loss,
Fill it with swords, shields, puppies
Pictures, mystery, letters, trials,
Hopes and dreams. Do not forget…
You see, I loved him.
I loved him as brother, father, friend,
Mentor, teacher, and confidant.

Bill Manville, of Sacramento, California died on Valentine’s Day 2017. He was a published author, a teacher, a traveler, radio host, copywriter, U.S. Army Veteran and dearly loved by Beverly. He ran a class on the internet called Writing to be Published. He was a well loved member of AA.

Volunteering at his local library, he ran a class on writing that was open to the public. He understood the need, the urge, to write and that writers need support at all levels of their ability. Being a gruff, loving, inspiring man, he passed the gift of what he had learned to others with an open heart. Whether the class succeeded of not, he urged them on. Revising, placing students in groups to evaluate each other, support each other, he gave us a rare gift of insight into ourselves.

He worked tirelessly in the pursuit of helping others escape the madness of addiction, remaining anonymous except for his first name. If a song represented his attitude towards others it might have been this one: also know as Bruno Mars “Just the Way You Are” He accepted people as they are. Truly a testament for human to be remembered as, Bill was “amazing” just the way he was. Of course you would have to change to words from girl to guy. Volunteering as a rehab clinic volunteer, he understood that by helping others he would help himself remain successful as a long-term sober recovering addict.

Celebrated as a Book of the Month author, he also worked as an editor for Cosmo, contributed columns to the Village Voice, Key West Solares Hill, The New York Daily Times and the Huffington Post. Magazine articles appear in The Fix, Cavalier Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post. He published his books through MacMillan Publishers, Duel, Sloan and Pearce, Simon and Schuster,  NAL, Delacorte, Dell/Random House, BSForge Press and Tor Publishing. His works include: Cool Hip and Sober, Goodbye, Saloon Society, The Man who Left his Wife and Had a Nifty Time, Writing to Be Published, and Breaking up. He was a contributor to the fourth edition of the Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (commonly called The Big Book at meetings.)

Bill also hosted a radio show, Addictions and Answers on KVML in Sonoma CA, which delved into real stories of the struggles faced by others dealing with alcohol addiction. With over forty years of research into the material he had available to him, he was able to paint a realistic picture of the process of becoming sober, something that was both a personal and social matter of importance. He believed in the process of sobering up as a lifelong purpose. One of the transcripts of a show he hosted with Dr. Dave More is available through the,

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, but graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. His next stop was the University of the Mediterranean, Nice where he explored life in all of its fullness and color. As his works were being published, he was encouraged to begin teaching. So he did. He was a member of LinkedIn where he looked for aspiring authors to take his online course.

No one can summarize the character, love, production and history on a single page and with such short notice. I have done the best I can. So a final toast: To all who aspire to sobriety or writing, we have loved him, learned from him, and will never regret that opportunity he shared with us.


Did someone really say this?

A week or so ago, I read a WordPress site that made me incredibly sad. Indeed, it left me speechless. Syria is not going well for the so-called rebels, and it is even harder on the civilians who are caught between the government, their personal hopes, and those who are brave enough to speak out against the government of Syria. The writer had moved with her family to the United States after World War II. She was despairing of the lack of moral fortitude that allowed the Syrian people to leave their homeland and to seek a safer place to live. She wanted to know how people who supposedly wanted change to come to Syria could leave that battle and run to Europe, Canada, and the United States. Her grandparents had stayed in France to fight in the resistance against the Nazis. Were these people really expecting the world to accept refuges who wouldn’t fight for what they believed?

She went on for a long time, speaking of her moral superiority over these victims. My take was that after World War II the conditions weren’t good in France. Supplies were in short supply, and to provide a better living situation for their descendants, her grandparents moved to the U.S.

Aleppo this week has showed more reasons for leaving Syria. Innocents shot dead by the Army as they summarily moved into the west side of the city. Male, female, old, young, it didn’t seem to matter to the government forces. They were summarily executed. In a conflict of this nature, the world failed these people. The UN did not muster a protecting force. The Russians targeted schools, mosques, and medical facility. The Syrian government was more concerned with their propaganda showing Aleppo as a place for tourists to visit, than in working with and achieving a resolution to the problems that brought the revolt in the first place.

Donald Trump has said he could look into the eyes of a child from Syria and tell her or him that they had no right to come to us as immigrants. He’s notorious for making statements of intolerance towards others. I’ve also read accounts of people who claim religion, Christianity, and yet don’t understand that most basic cornerstone of the call for charity, generosity, and humanity. The old “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” apparently strikes no sympathy in their hearts. We have a tall lady in the New York harbor that stands bearing witness to the fact that all of us came from somewhere. Even the first nations know that their ancestors came from somewhere other than our continent.

We have so much as a nation and so many opportunities, is it possible that we can’t share a little of our prosperity and safety with others? Immigrants become some of our best citizens if we let them live and participate in our government.  They take the worst jobs and make the best of them, providing their children with educations which enable them to become better citizens.

Make no mistake, I hold that same opinion about those refugees who come from the Americas too. I feel that we have a heart that needs tending, and if we shut the doors based on race, we have worked against our own standard as the greatest nation currently in the world. We who have much, have a responsibility to act as though others matter. It’s Christmas, and we should keep that in mind as we change our government.