Conversation with a Wordsmith - Dikkon Eberhart
“I fell in love, that is the only expression I can think of, at once, and am still at the mercy of words, …”
Words, books, the actual feel and smell of a book - I inherited my love from my daddy. I hated reading when I was little and stood around waiting on him as he looked for yet another book, more times than I can count. He quit school when he was fifteen but he loved to read. He knew all the private book dealers in town.
I remember one such man named Danny Wheeler, who had an old house with tall high book shelves that had an attached wooden rolling ladder to reach the top shelves, just like the one in My Fair Lady. Cats ran around on top of his counters and his house was packed to the brim. It seems to me that I can still smell the cigarette smoke, of course that could have been from my daddy as we traipsed across the valley looking for books in his yellow Duster. I now see the value of all the interesting characters that he knew – book collectors, book sellers, book hunters and their stories, not to mention the many friends in the books themselves.
Now many years later, I too have a love of books. April, a friend and writer, heard of a memior from her violin instructor that she said I must read - The time Mom met Hitler, Frost came to dinner, and I heard the Greatest Story ever told. Most of my college years I was an English major, although in my last year I changed to PolySci. My love for writing and reading is how I began in the English track and this writer, Dikkon Eberhart, grew up with those writers in his home on a regular basis, that I read in my classes. Dylan Thomas had a crush on his mom and read him bedtime stories. He and Robert Frost had a conversation about the intentions of his most famous poem. Of course, I was hooked.
What kept me reading was this writer is not just a writer but a wordsmith. To me, being able to use words so the reader feels what you intend for them to feel and more; to paint a picture without brush or colors on a canvas – only using words - is an art. Also, his writing has a rhythm that keeps the reader moving ahead.
It is a memoir that ends with his journey to Christ from Judaism. Extraordinary, yes?
Since my first touch of that book, Dikkon Eberhart has moved from Maine to where I live. I have had the fabulous opportunity to get to know him first hand and he allowed me to ask him some questions at a restaurant the other day for a short interview. If you have any interest in word crafting at all, I suggest that you read his writing. I can still smell the cigars on their family boat, taste the bourbon, and feel the movement of the sail boat on the lake with his father. (I have never smoked a cigar, I don’t like bourbon, and I have never been on a boat with he or his father but it is now a memory of my own because of the way he painted it for me in his book.)
When will your next book come out and do you have a title?
I hope to have the manuscript completed by the end of the year. I have three or four titles, none that I particularly like. Once I know truly know what the book is about, it will be the billboard.
How many books do you own?
I understand that you were a food critic for five years in Maine. Since moving to Roanoke, what has been your favorite meal dining out?
Brunch at the River and Rail Restaurant and the Chicken Copacabana at Montano’s International Gourmet
What is one thing Jesus is speaking to you about your life today?
Tell people the truth about Channa and my’s coming to Jesus and give my gift of energy back to those who need it. I believe I have a gift for understanding how my life has progressed and why. I have a gift for assisting other people with their possible coming to Christ.
What is your favorite food?
Eggs because you can make them into anything.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I lived on the coast of Maine for thirty years and loved it. I hope that I will come to love Roanoke the same. It is too hot here but I am hopeful.
What is your favorite thing in New York city - where one of your daughters lives?
She lives in Brooklyn. I love the energy of the people and all the opportunities to view good art. Personally, I am more of a quiet atmosphere person myself.
What was your favorite play that you were in?
A Man for all Seasons in college at Dartmouth
What are some of your hobbies now?
Tinkering, fixing small things
How does God speak to you?
When I least expect it and I hear His words in my head. Words are vital. I take those moments as miracles.
"If God, while intending Adam, should have created Satan instead, it would not have been a righteous creation; it would have been a clang. My father created me, molded me, and taught me, and once - when I needed it - he slapped me down. As he forced me forward, sometimes he slipped in his effort, and instead of making music, his effort went awry, and there was a clang.
I hated those clangs, but the effort of the man behind me - that is, of my father, and of his father, and of his father, all the way back to Eberhart the Noble sitting on his throne in Stuttgart in the scarcely imaginable thirteenth century - that effort, too, tensed me up.
And more to this: Eberhart the Noble had a father, who had a father, who had a father, who eventually was our very first father - our very first father, Adam himself, who was pushed into existence - fearfully and wonderfully made - by the very breath of God."
- quote from The time Mom met Hitler, Frost came to dinner, and I heard the Greatest Story ever told
by Dikkon Eberhart
For more about Dikkon Eberhart, visit his website at www.dikkoneberhart.com
Michelle Gill is a website designer, trail hiker sometimes runner, disc golfer's wife, barista, Jesus lover, book collector, mama, old house explorer and writer.