Biography of Ben W. McClelland
A fateful event affected my identity when I was an infant. My father was killed
in the Second World War. My twin sister, our older brother, and I were raised
by my mother and her extended family. In my memoir, Soldier's Son, I tell about
growing up with this family of storytellers and about learning of my father's
life and death. The early years of my life's journey influenced the kind of man
I am today.
I always enjoyed making and doing things. I gardened, jumped horses, and
cooked. I also always enjoyed companion dogs and cats. In my work as a
Professor of English at the University of Mississippi, I have always taught
writing, which combines companionship with active making and doing.
I earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English at Indiana University where I wrote a
dissertation on William Faulkner's fiction While, over the years, I have
written a lot of narrative pieces that came out of my personal experiences, my
published writing, prior to Soldier's Son, consisted of textbooks and
professional works. I am now working on new projects in fiction and memoir.
I have long lived with talented children who span three decades. My
oldest son is a musician, a teacher, and an entrepreneur of musical
projects. My second son graduated with honors from college and is
working and studying improvisation in Chicago. My older daughter is
studying in college abroad. Married to a school administrator, I also
have a stepson who is working a while before entering college. Our
youngest daughter is an elementary school student, involved in
gymnastics, basketball, Girl Scouts, and music. Every day bustles with
activities in our lively home.
A couple of years ago, I had a traumatic accident. While hunting, I
fell from a tree stand when a hand hold broke. While I am lucky to be
alive and mobile, I experience chronic back pain and my physical
activities are limited. Through continued physical therapy I am
recovering more fully. Every week brings new strategies and new
possibilities. Suffice it to say that I have had a painful lesson in
how I don't really control my own destiny. Nevertheless, I work daily
to expand my horizons, physical, mental, and spiritual. Besides my
professional work, I like to cheer on my favorite college sports teams
and to cook for family and friends. I look longingly at my bright blue,
1978 MG Midget and dream of the day when I can cruise around in it
again. Throughout it all, I remain an active explorer, journeying
through worlds in my new writing projects.