Over the past 24 hours, Rhode Island Public Radio and The Boston Globe reported that longtime columnist Bob Kerr was called into a conference room in The Providence Journal’s Fountain Street bunker-like headquarters and informed of his dismissal and the details of his severance package.
The more than 43 years of impeccable journalism and commentary produced by one man and cherished by thousands of readers across Southern New England dissipated in ten minutes, merely a formality than an expression of gratitude or thanksgiving.
I’ll never forget the first time I met acclaimed novelist, UMass Lowell professor and Guggenheim fellow Andre Dubus III. Following a literary forum, he held court with admirers and fans alike and fortunately I was one amidst the throng that was able to meet him and actually spend some time speaking with him about his writing process.
I went up to him and said, “Mr. Dubus, I am Nicholas and it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He knew I had other things on my mind, so he encouraged me to ask, and we had about a ten or fifteen minute conversation about the passion for writing which we both share.
It was a pleasure to meet him. We exchanged email addresses. He was very down to earth for someone who is so respected and admired in literary circles. We ended up meeting several times for lunch or dinner, talking about writing, philosophy, and any current events. Andre is a great example of writers that offer advice, friendship and a helping hand to the future generation.
I’ll always remember his kindness and generosity in taking the time out to talk to me about writing and being an author in my journey to reach my own potential.