First Post

Morgan’s Knot evolved from an unfulfilled yearning to resume earnest writing, neglected but never abandoned during thirty-five years of an award-winning career as an advertising and architectural photographer, advocate, volunteer, and educator. (For a peek at my portfolio, please visit:

I decided to publish this series under my full name (I’m Rick to friends and family) to honor my father, an internationally renowned Scottish biochemist and scholar with an expansive Victorian education, who read and retained everything. When I was a wee tike, he would take me on his knee at bedtime and begin a story - filled with young heroes, magical creatures, fantastic settings, and wicked conniving adults - that might go on for days or weeks before the children finally triumphed over the villains…and then he’d start another.

Before the first sentence of the first book appeared on the screen, I spent months pondering potential plots, characters, themes, and challenges. I considered all the things that I hold dear in life, rummaged through a tangle of intriguing concepts, myths, and legends, revisited many of the books I treasured in my youth…and struggled to recall the gist of the tales spawned in my father’s inventive imagination.

Once the actual writing commenced, I’d sneak an hour before heading home from the studio and more after dinner, until the process morphed into habit and these characters became part of my consciousness. There have been many points in this process where I thought I knew where the story was going, only to be interrupted by one of the characters saying, in perfect voice, “I wouldn’t say that!” or “You’re thinking like a grown-up again!” or “There’s something vital and obvious that you’ve completely missed.”

Along the way, I found great respect and admiration for their dedication to ‘all that’s right and true’ as well as their patient persistence and relentless pluck in foiling insurmountable adversity. Would that we all possessed character and determination worthy of such veneration.

Blog 2

The House of the Four Seasons is a fictional rendering of our renovated farmhouse and the gardens that surround it. Long abandoned and neglected, restoration of the old house took months of relentless effort to renew her welcoming warmth as our home. We also found that we shared it, not only, with our children and pets but with our resident ghost, Nanny, who likes to move things around, turn lights on and off, open and close doors, and generally play tricks on us when least expected.

Over the first three years, we cut and hauled thousands of volunteer trees and started installing plants and trees to fulfill my wife, Sheridan’s imaginative design. In February, colors begin to sprout from the gray brown of her ornamental beds and flushes of pinks and yellows, blues and purples build to an overwhelming display in late spring and continue through autumn. That's Miss Gracie making her rounds.

My organic vegetable garden started with two modest beds and has expanded over the years to provide produce from spring through early winter for our family, friends, neighbors, and the local food bank. Each fall when I till up the beds to rest for the winter, I am thoroughly envious of Elsie’s gardens, at the House of the Four Seasons, that produce a prolific abundance twelve months a year.

Over the years, magnificent old trees have matured and died, while glorified twigs have grown to tower over the house and gardens. Mother Nature continues to test our patience and perseverance with droughts, ice storms, floods, fierce winds, and months of extreme heat, but gardeners are optimists. Failure is simply a challenge to learn from our mistakes and understand what the plant wants…or…finding The Balance.

rick stiller 2019