Beyond the Book

Celebrating Bill Bell


My co-author—and late father-in-law—Bill Bell was a lifelong journalist. Raised in Arkansas, Bill’s first gig (in 1953) was sports editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial. He went on to literally span the world for United Press International—from South America to Europe and Africa—before settling down in Connecticut and starting up at the New York Daily News.

Whether meeting deadline, on the go, or holding court in the newsroom, Bill loved it all.

Bill took everything seriously except himself. Please enjoy some of his many musings and select articles from his 25 years at the Daily News.

(On marriage)

I never knew what true happiness was until I got married—and then it was too late.


(On starting up in Journalism)

And just like the old joke goes, I got into journalism because I was too lazy to work, and too scared to steal.


(On heroes)

The real heroes are ordinary men and women who do extraordinary things.


(On curiosity)

There’s the story about the tourist who wants to take Metro-North to Westport. The ticket agent says, “Local or express?”

The tourist says, What’s the difference?

“With express, you save 6 minutes.”

And the tourist says, “What do people do with the 6 minutes they save?”

Good question. And I’ve got a suggestion: Fill those 6 minutes, 6 hours, 6 days, weeks, months, whatever, with the great gift of curiosity. To me, this is the gift that keeps us all open to new possibilities, and fresh perspectives, and fully engaged participation in everything happening around you.

It’s what made Alexander Fleming wonder about mold in a lab dish, made Thomas Edison wonder about the glow in a filament, and made Isaac Newton wonder about the speed of the fall of an apple from a tree.

Curiosity involves a sacred journey—what the theologians and mystics call a pilgrimage…living one moment to the next, in wonder, hope, maybe fear, and with luck, great anticipation.


New York Daily News articles

4/3/05: TRAVELED THE WORLD TO SPREAD THE WORD (Life of Pope John Paul) | View JPG  
6/19/98: Bound & determined (Queens Public Library book club) | View JPG 
9/9/91: Hack Poet Society: Fare & verse | View JPG 
11/13/89: Beyond Wall, Novemberfest (fall of Berlin Wall) | View JPG  

One other celebration of Bill Bell: a personal tribute, It Takes Two, I wrote about our book “collaboration” for the Summer 2023 Issue of Colgate Magazine.