Four Pivotal Moments in the Life of Your Presenter,  Bill Stephenson


Before taking his last run on Bradley’s Bash that cold March afternoon in time to catch the ski train back to Denver, he scanned the distant mountain range and thanked the invisible powers that be, which he didn’t think he believed in, for Colorado’s beauty and for having been granted the good fortune of being able to ski nearly every weekend from when he was nine up to now, his last winter before leaving for the remote Southern California college.

He told himself he’d remember this moment the rest of his life–repeating what he’d said for absolutely no good reason eleven years ago while standing outside the city dump he and Herbie used to build cardboard forts in–and pushed off with his poles.  Life was good.


Somehow managing to complete four years of Pomona College, one day he woke up and sadly realized he hadn’t been cut out to write the world’s next great novel.  He didn’t know what to do except keep going to school.  Another eight years loomed ahead, first at UC Berkeley and next as underpaid TA at the University of Minnesota while raising two kids.   One day he hoped it might be teaching English literature, not just Freshman English.

That day did come, down in Austin, Texas, where he tried hard to turn students on to Keats, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Blake.  He couldn’t believe he was actually getting paid for discussing great books.  And he loved Austin in those early Willie Nelson days.  Life was still good.


His life started confirming the theory that males freak out in their late thirties.  After his marital crisis and getting disillusioned over the way English departments had turned into politically correct factories, he’d headed back to his beloved Colorado, lucky to find a new career as a bureaucrat, of all things, with the new Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden.  Would it be possible for America to change before running out of fossil fuels, he wondered on the day that Jimmy Carter came to announce the short-lived solar decade?  And would it be possible for his two kids to survive the marital crisis?

America managed to survive, continued to pump out big V-8’s and maxi-vans.  And his two kids survived, would go on to produce four wonderful boys of their own.  And, amazingly enough, the invisible god he still didn’t know whether he believed in or not brought him another beautiful woman who would become his soul mate for the next 34 years.  Life continued to be good.


Looking directly south to Mt. Evans 20 eagle-miles away, he again thanked the invisible god that he’d finally decided might exist, and returned to his task of stacking one log on top of another. That task took the better part of six years, six wonderful years of living off the grid while surviving on bread and stone soup.  Unfortunately that idyll had to come to its end, but life continued  to be good in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Texas.  

Suddenly, after the century turned, life’s inevitable tragedy had to hit,  ultimately taking away the love of his life.  He tried to let go of everything he held so tight, as all the spiritual masters teach, but instead found himself running away from the North Carolina dream house back to the west of his youth.  Maybe he would settle down–not in cold Colorado but warm Arizona; try to build a new life and simply retire to play golf forever.  That worked until someone convinced him he needed to help others survive their grief by learning to write their way through it.  Thus was born LiveWriteWords.