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Father. Husband. Writer. Songwriter. Pianist (careful how you say that). Technology Biz Dev and Sales Guy. Aspiring (aspirating) Triathlete.

For several months before my first child was born (and I dare say, several times since), I had a very odd recurring dream. An angel with a cigarette and a martini would pace the stage at Stanford’s Dinkelspeil Auditorium, sky and clouds under his feet instead of the wooden floor. (An appropriate venue for a dream, since that’s where I scribbled notes and occasionally snoozed through William Dement’s Sleep and Dreams class a year or two…or more….ago.)

Anyway, in between sips, puffs, and a chomp on an olive, this angel was lecturing. Poorly. With words slightly slurred and a periodic coughing fit, he carried on and on with a “live everyday as if it were your last, and one day you will be right” speech. He droned on incessantly about the myriad of ways we would ultimately all lose each other, our health, our family, our memories, our limbs, spontaneous tumescence, and ultimately, our lives. He piled morose detail on morose detail, like an evening of prime time depressing world “news” headlines.

And then all of us (the “all of us” being people from all the different walks of my life, from business acquaintances to college pals, to Grand parents long since gone), filed to the edge of the stage and jumped through the clouds and down to earth, on our way to being born. Thanks to the angel’s gruesome depiction of the inevitable, we all approached the stage with about the same sense of optimism and levity as the troops in the landing boats in the first scenes of Saving Private Ryan.

And each night,  as I walked to the edge of the stage and looked down, the angel would put his hand on my shoulder, smile warmly, wink and without any slur say, “trust me – get out there and have a great time.”

With dreams like that, who needs insomnia.

So, from frequent flying and business presentations to the occasional jazz gig, from the endless home building projects to the stuffed animal improv I do for the kids at night, I ponder the wisdom and weirdness of that recurring message. I leave the more serious contemplations of politics, economics, religion, technology and international affairs to those far more learned and experienced. I just sift through  the day-to-day looking for truth in that wink, trying to find ways to do more good than harm. I do my best best to trust where all this is headed, but frequently find myself asking for more clues.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 11:04 am

    Write on!

  2. Paul Valcheff permalink
    April 13, 2010 10:53 am

    Ed, when you figure out where all this is headed, please let us mere mortals know. Lord knows that the clues are piled high, but the interpretation is missing…counting on you to figure it out for us!

    Can’t wait for your next installment!

  3. Norman Fleischner permalink
    April 13, 2010 11:09 am

    Life is just a dream. Ya da da da da da da dah.

  4. Jess Rosenthal permalink
    April 13, 2010 11:21 am

    Grappling with whether to be mostly impressed, entertained, envious or inspired, I settle on equal parts of all. Very nicely done – I look forward to reading whatever comes out of your head next. – Jess

  5. Anne Murdaugh permalink
    April 13, 2010 11:59 am

    I like your heavenly message.
    To which I’ll add: “The best is yet to be.”

  6. April 13, 2010 3:01 pm

    Marvelous descriptions…please write more.

  7. Barbara leidner permalink
    April 13, 2010 7:01 pm

    I loved it!! Can’t wait for the first novel!! You definitely have a calling–follow it!!!

  8. mary Macdairmada Yarnall permalink
    April 14, 2010 8:34 am

    Now all I can think about is “I don’t want to be right today. I don’t want this to be the last.” Thanks for the laughs! this will be fun – inside the head of Ed Manning.

  9. April 14, 2010 12:34 pm

    Will wait impatiently for the next chapter.

  10. bonnie permalink
    April 15, 2010 1:26 pm


  11. April 16, 2010 6:18 pm

    well … it’s about time to add author to the list. Great stuff!

  12. May 16, 2010 12:39 pm

    “thar she blows”: had me laughing out loud.

  13. February 11, 2011 10:06 pm

    The gift you bestow: Reacquainting me with laughter, finding the humor in misery and the wonder in the ones we love! Thank you. I am so happy that you are writing now, that I don’t have to wait for the rare visit to share your wit and wonder! Even my sons now, Preston and Kai, want more of the EdWard light in their lives! I am forwarding on the address! Aloha, Kristi

  14. gail permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:39 pm

    ed, someone gave sasha your article on smith. so beautiful. amazing to read. find me on facebook please. gail j dobson xo

  15. james townsend permalink
    October 3, 2012 1:56 am


    Good stuff here. You have a knack. Please write a book so that we can all enjoy more. — James

  16. Theo Walker permalink
    August 28, 2013 8:49 am

    Ed, Love rereading this, especially at this time with your mom flying out and about above us now. Hugs, your god-
    cousin Theo

  17. Lori permalink
    April 14, 2014 4:28 pm

    Ed are you out there? A voice from your past.

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