One of the wonderful things about art is its paradox: that its effect is at once personal and universal. Art’s consummate lure — its value — is its conveyance of the eminent, indomitable truths of our humanness, thereby increasing our understanding of our “selves” as well as the “human condition.”

I’m a writer, partly because the compulsion to write was born in me, but more so because the desire to express, to make beauty, and, as best I may, to comprehend (and decipher) humankind, is strong in me.

I started writing at the age of five (or was it six?), when, in one sitting, it was Christmastime as I recall, I composed, on those thick-lined yellow sheets of grade-school paper, a 25-page “novel” of a Viking adventure. Except for some diversions since then, including discovering girls, honing soccer skills, and becoming a parent, I have been writing ever since....