March 28, 2014 Christi

Dan Berne and The Gods of Second Chances

I’m damn lucky to know a human being like Dan Berne, whom I met last fall through the fireball known as Laura Stanfill.

Dan’s down-to-earth kindness impressed me; his wife, Aliza, had her own stories to tell and a dazzling smile.


I love it when nice humans turn out to be hardworking and amazing at their craft. This is the case with Dan Berne.

And humanity is what I love about The Gods of Second Chances, published by Forest Avenue Press.

Dan’s characters are flawed, vulnerable people with relatable longings and regrets.

I am impressed by the blend of action and emotion. The book moves at a beautiful clip, depicting how we can get hurt in family, using this hurt to defend ourselves against the world.

What’s more, I’ve been doubly, even triply blessed, to hear Dan read his work at the fabulous Powell’s launch of The Gods of Second Chances last month.

Then, he was guest in my classroom. Dan visited “Finding Your Stride,” my March co-teaching adventure with Sage Cohen. Sage and I were front row beneficiaries of Dan’s wisdom on how to build characters who pull you in.

Together with our wonderful writing students, we soaked up Dan’s stories behind the story.

headerI’m not sure how it works, scientifically, but knowledge peaks through live human contact. I’m sure of it.

When I meet the writer, then read his work, there’s a transference of strength and possibility.


It resonates through a handshake, a smile, a voice.

It’s not the same by reading merely, or by admiring work from afar.

There’s something about having that writer hand you their book, signed by their pen, warmed by their hands. And it’s exciting to realize this writer’s success grew out of working in a community, getting support and encouragement from other human beings on a weekly basis.

Being willing to be real, to be human, to risk reaching out – it shows in Dan’s stories. It shows in his life.

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