Those who have known me many years understand that I prefer to shun the spotlight and am actually a rather shy and private person. Nor am I a natural wordsmith, though I put pen to paper (figuratively, of course) in these pages each month.
So I had an instant affinity with musician David Hoffman who writes in his new book, “I have never claimed to be a writer by trade. But I also think that the story is too fantastic not to tell. Writing does not come easy for me, although I love it.”
Hoffman’s recent book, What’s That Bus Doing on the Runway?, which we excerpt in this issue, chronicles his life as a musician on the road with the legendary Ray Charles Orchestra. It sure sounds glamorous, but, says Hoffman, “Nothing was easy on the road. The things that most take for granted were struggles, whether it be clean underwear or a hot meal before the gig.”
“Why did I go on the road in the first place? Well, Ray called, and I said yes. I had no idea it would be a 13-year journey.”
I can easily parallel these words. I have never claimed to be a writer by trade. Friends have suggested I write my story, which at times could seem like a daytime drama, and at others, I wonder…what could possibly be of interest to others?
Nothing has been easy along the way. I am under no illusion that there are not millions of people who could do the job better, and I second-guess myself constantly. But opportunity knocked, and I said yes. I do believe the past 20 years have been an incredible journey, and I appreciate that inside of every one of us is a story to be told.
“The bishop’s home is full of storied treasures few have had the opportunity to see,” notes Amy Chovan on page 16, referring to her tour of the residence of the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. “Every thing has a story,” indeed. Earlier this year, I also had the opportunity to tour the bishop’s home, a visit which helped inspire this article.
I love to visit museums, churches and other historical sites. I’ve been to Westminster Abbey in London and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I am still awestruck when gazing up at the twin spires of Peoria’s own Cathedral of Saint Mary.
Just last month, I toured Hillwood Estate in Washington, DC, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal empire (and native of Springfield, Illinois). Post wanted to share her extensive art collection with the public and envisioned her home as a living museum, as does Bishop Jenky, who opens up his residence for charitable events and other gatherings.
There are thousands of hidden stories in the central Illinois community; finding and telling those stories is what we do. a&s