By ARDEN BASTIA Rhode Island native, Bob Hocking, is releasing his latest book, January Resolutions, with the promise that tomorrow will be a better day. A collection of more than five dozen essays, some never released before, Hocking muses on frosty
Rhode Island native, Bob Hocking, is releasing his latest book, January Resolutions, with the promise that tomorrow will be a better day.
A collection of more than five dozen essays, some never released before, Hocking muses on frosty northeast weather, the origins of coffee, the civics tests for United States citizenship, and whoopee pies. Hocking infuses humor, thoughtfulness, and genuine observations into each of his essays, creating the likes of a conversation between old friends.
Hocking grew up in Rhode Island, living in Warwick until he went to college. He graduated from Syracuse University with an English degree, and now currently resides in upstate New York with his wife Terry. Hocking considers himself “a writer with a camera”, spending his time taking photographs and writing stories to complement them. His website, In My Backpack, is a portfolio of Hocking’s work.
January Resolutions, Hocking’s 12th collection of essays published on Nov. 24, gives readers a new perspective when reflecting on matters left previously unconsidered. His essay, “I’m not convinced about this meeting,” Hocking contemplates roadside religious billboards with mildly threatening messages. He approaches the subject in a lighthearted, yet thoughtful, manner. “I am most definitely a flawed person. I have my weaknesses…But overall, I’d like to think I have good intentions. I’d like to think my character is solid, strong, and respectable…And if that’s the case, then I shouldn’t change anything based on a finger pointing billboard. I should simply continue to do the best I can, with every moment I have,” writes Hocking. These sentiments are a breath of fresh air during an otherwise heavy year, a reminder that we all need to take ourselves a little less seriously and appreciate each other a whole lot more.
In his essay, “Paving my childhood with comfort food,” Hocking takes his reader on a nostalgic tour of the Route 2 vicinity of Warwick. Hocking reflects on the Warwick Musical Theater, “or theatre if you want to be fancy,” The Midland Mall, which is now the Rhode Island Mall, and of course, the miles and miles of woods. “A huge number of places I recall being woods and fields, whether explored or not by my friends and I, are now covered with asphalt,” writes Hocking. In a more serious tone, he reflects on the changes to his familiar neighborhood and the decline in “that unique sense of character.” But for this reader, the takeaway is deeper than just contempt for the changes. We must find gratitude for what once was and appreciate the memories we have, a fitting sentiment for this Thanksgiving week.