I really am not a college football fan but I'm also not completely out of touch with the world, which you would have to be to not know at least a little of the story surrounding the last few months of ex Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

The facts aren't really clear yet, and I know enough about the criminal justice system to know that what you hear in the initial reports is often leaked by the police or the DAs office to taint the public perception ahead of time, but obviously something untoward was going on.

This drama will play out over the next years, but if in fact Joe Paterno is not as culpable as it sounds, it is a shame that the last few months of a man's life were spent having to undergo this humiliation and tainting the time he had with his family.

As writers we can take this to heart, and use it as a time and an exercise to try and mentally step into the shoes of everyone involved in this tragedy.

In my book, Junebug and the Body I had to regress and get inside the minds of two twelve year old boys (something my wife said wan't really a regression) with a summer ahead of them when a mystery suddenly pops up to turn a slow summer into an exciting one. In No' Chance the challenge is to not only get inside the head of a young man, but also a female and then, in the main character, a boy with Downs Syndrome. In The Bottle Tree I not only chose new characters, but placed them into a time that I had no personal knowledge of, the early 1900s.

As writers we can use this whole Penn State mess as a way to teach ourselves to look at things from a variety of viewpoints, some of them extremely uncomfortable.

I wish the best for Paterno's family.