Spiderwebs glisten in the fall morning light as fog dissipates and sunlight dapples the forest floor of the arboretum near my home in Oregon. Industrious webs span tree limbs, barely visible, dew giving them away. The forest makes its own rain, fog gathering on needles and cradled in leaves until its weight forms droplets that patter quietly on soft ground.

Wandering trails well worn, I am transported to the many hikes that have shaped my life. Effortlessly, I am back in the pine forests of Wyoming on chatty forays with my beloved sisters and brother, full of laughter and stories; extended walks with my mother, often taken with purpose sharing a special destination or an insight; quiet long hikes on mountain trails with my father, taken simply for the joy of being there together.

Anyone can write

Nearly 40 years in the business have taught me that readers are bombarded and overwhelmed with facts. What we long for, though, is meaning and a connection at a deeper and more universal level. And that’s why the Gillette News Record will be running,

from time to time, stories from students who are in my writing class, which I’ve been teaching for the past 10 years in Portland, Oregon.

I take great satisfaction in helping so-called non-writers find and write stories from their lives and experiences. They walk into my room believing they don’t have what it takes to

be a writer. I remind them if they follow their hearts, they will discover they are storytellers.

As we all are at our core. These stories have nothing to do with Gillette.

They do, however, have everything to do with life. If you are interested in contacting me to tell me your story, I’d like to hear from you.

Tom Hallman Jr.


Tom Hallman Jr. is a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer for the

Oregonian newspaper. He’s also a writing coach and has an affinity for Gillette.

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