Category Archives: Books – by Chuck Fager

Quakerism: Taking A Bite Of The Apple

Quakerism: Taking A Bite Of The Apple


1969: Looking back, my own “formation” as a Quaker began under Morris Mitchell at Friends World College in 1966, and while it has never really ended, I can recognize a kind of novitiate that continued until 1975. And instead of one mentor, or “novice master,” I had several, some of which made a large impact in only brief encounters.

Cambridge Meeting, Massachusetts.

One such in my Boston years was Sam Levering of Ararat, Virginia. Sam was invited to be a speaker at a New England regional gathering of the Young Friends of North America, or YFNA. Continue reading Quakerism: Taking A Bite Of The Apple

From “Meetings” — Life, The Woods, & The Chainsaw

From “Meetings” — Life, The Woods, & The Chainsaw

Autumn 1966: While at Friends World College, for one studytravel journey we piled into the school’s Volkswagen buses and headed for Vermont, to the farm of a friend of the Director named Bert. Bert had left the city to become an early back-to-the-lander; but he was no laid back hippie. His farm was well-organized and productive.


It was autumn, and we arrived well after dark. In the morning, I went outside, looked around, and reeled back in astonishment. I had never seen New England fall foliage before: the hillsides and even trees nearby all seemed alight with a kind of psychedelic aura that was almost audible, loud purple, operatic orange, roaring red and buzzing neon yellow, so overwhelming it seemed like it must surely be illegal. Continue reading From “Meetings” — Life, The Woods, & The Chainsaw

From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness

From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness

Late 1959: During my senior year, at St. Mary’s High in Cheyenne Wyoming, it was announced one day that we would be treated to a field trip, all the way to Denver, to visit the nearest Catholic colleges: Regis, for men, run by the Jesuits; and nearby Loretto Heights, for women, operated by the Sisters of Loretto.

Index-Book-BurningI enjoyed the trip, though I was already clear that, wherever I went to college, it would be at a secular school. And this resolve was greatly strengthened when we visited, of all places, the Regis College library.

Continue reading From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness

New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

“May you live in interesting times.” 

That’s a curse, remember? And 2016 marks fifty years for me among  Friends–a half century of almost nonstop “interesting times.” 

I’ve begun putting my experience of this era on paper, in a “religious autobiography, called Meetings. It’s now available.

If I believed in reincarnation, I’d be burning incense & spinning prayer wheels asking that on the next go-round, could the higher powers arrange for the times to be  possibly a bit less interesting? Say with fewer wars, more time to catch my breath, smell the roses, take the long walks on the beach–


Who am I kidding?

Continue reading New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

More Reading: Take A Bite Of The “Wisdom Fish”

More Reading: Take A Bite Of The “Wisdom Fish”

In the early 1830s, a young man went to sea, hoping to make his fortune. A Presbyterian by birth, he read his Bible each night in his shipboard hammock, and he was haunted by a verse in the fourth chapter of Proverbs: 

 “Wisdom is the principal thing: Therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.”  Wealth, the youth piously decided, was nothing without this seasoning of wisdom. But where was such a combination to be found?

“And Where Is Wisdom To Be Found?”

Presently his ship sailed into the harbor of Nantucket Island. Nantucket was then a wealthy and vibrant community, built and largely populated by members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. 

Continue reading More Reading: Take A Bite Of The “Wisdom Fish”

Take An End-of-Summer Break: Read Quaker Mysteries

Take An End-of-Summer Break: Read Quaker Mysteries

The Long Wait Is Over:

Murder Among Friends, published in 1991, was my first mystery.  It sold out two printings, and many have asked about it. Now it’s BACK, in paperback and Kindle. 

A killer rewrites the agenda of a quiet Quaker conference in old Virginia.

Murder-Cover-SM Continue reading Take An End-of-Summer Break: Read Quaker Mysteries

For Friendly Summer Reading: Two New Books

For Friendly Summer Reading: Two New Books —
Quaker Stories & Friendly FAQs

So you know I’ve been interested in Quakers and Quakerism for decades.
I began exploring this interest by writing stories about Friends in 1977.
Beginning in 1989, I was asked to read my Quaker and other stories to campers and adults at Friends Music Camp, at the Olney Friends School in Ohio, where Friend Peg Champney was the founding Director. I’ve been invited back to read more of these stories every summer since.
Now I’ve collected nineteen of these stories in a new book, “Posies for Peg.”

FMC-Cover-Clip-4-Web Continue reading For Friendly Summer Reading: Two New Books

Quakers & the Underground Railroad: Humility Time

Here’s a real Quaker hero of the Underground Railroad. Lucretia Mott was not some postwar poseur.

Quakers & the Underground Railroad: Humility Time

“Myth, Reality & The Underground Railroad” is  a usefully humbling piece in the New York Times for Friends about the Underground Railroad: scholarly work shows that most runaways did it largely on their own, a great many whites exaggerated or invented their URR support after the Civil War, and that actual white URR activists were often valiant, but relatively few in number and were marginalized & vilified by both respectable folk & dangerous mobs.

Continue reading Quakers & the Underground Railroad: Humility Time

How To Be A Writer — “Sponsored” & Not

 It’s Simpler Than You Think. (I Didn’t Say “Easier.”)

So in Salon, writer Ann Bauer spills her guts. If you think you can bear it, this is her opening:

<< Here’s my life. My husband and I get up each morning at 7 o’clock and he showers while I make coffee. By the time he’s dressed I’m already sitting at my desk writing. He kisses me goodbye then leaves for the job where he makes good money, draws excellent benefits and gets many perks, such as travel, catered lunches and full reimbursement for the gym where I attend yoga midday. His career has allowed me to work only sporadically, as a consultant, in a field I enjoy. >>

Yeah, okay. Here’s my life as a published writer:

I’m now retired. I get up when I need to. I live pretty cheap, within the Social Security checks that come in monthly. As a result, I can write full-time and FTW.

The output? In two years – plus, five book titles. More to come, until something gives out, probably me.

The “Sponsor” of my current writing status. You can gain such sponsorship too; just hang in there, and don’t let the Right wreck it.

 Ann Bauer continues:

<< All that disclosure is crass, I know. I’m sorry. Because in this world where women will sit around discussing the various topiary shapes of their bikini waxes, the conversation about money (or privilege) is the one we never have. Why? I think it’s the Marie Antoinette syndrome: Those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. >>

Well, crass or not, you, dear readers ain’t riffraff, and I don’t mind you knowing a few more details.

Marie Antoinette
Nope, I don’t look even a little bit like her.

First point: I am NOT Marie Antoinette.

My current “simple luxury” way of life is, as mentioned, only a couple years old. And before that, I had to work. Help raise four kids. Cope with various ups and downs — getting laid off, divorce, publications folding under me,  presidents named Bush, wars, rumors of wars, yada yada.

And even so, I wrote and published a bunch of books. (I mean, who needs to sleep?)

Continue reading How To Be A Writer — “Sponsored” & Not