The Why Of It

As I forge ahead with my next writing project, I often question why I do it. Why do I feel compelled to write out my stories and try and create something out of nothing? I am an ordinary lunchpail-to-work guy for what pays the bills and keeps the creditors at bay. What moves me to write? What motivates me and how did it ever start?Those are tough questions for any writer I suppose. I suspect a few do it out of a desire for some (seemingly unattainable) level of fame. Others may do it out of boredom or maybe even obligation. So where do I fall on that spectrum?All I can say is it is and always has been part of me. It is almost genetic that way. I've enjoyed it ever since I was a kid. Unfortunately there were a lot of lost years where the only way it manifested itself was in letters to my brother in New York, my friend Pat in Tulsa, and eventually to this girl, Donna, who I would eventually marry after a long courtship via letters back and fourth between WI and NY. It's these y…

A Caramel Apple A Day

I paid a much needed visit to the dentist today. I was scheduled for an appointment in April before the bottom fell out because of COVID-19. It was a semi-normal experience excluding them meeting me at the door and walking me out of the place. I figure, next to a doctor's office, there's probably no safer place from a germ standpoint than a dentist's office right now, so what the heck. I take meticulous care of my teeth, brush twice daily and floss faithfully, to a fault almost. I've developed good habits over the years because I had such a traumatic youth from a dental standpoint. I have a mouth full of metal, as the saying goes, and have for most of my life. My wife on the other hand, has 2 or 3 fillings TOTAL and literally didn't have one until she was in her 40's.

Anyway, today I was blessed with the news that I had two problems. One "small" cavity and the need to replace another older one. (I'm at that age where they're redoing the old on…

October's Best

This time of October is one of my favorite times of year. The fall colors are spectacular, the weather is still bearable and the holidays are in the forecast. It is also a time of a couple of key birthdays. My brother Rob would have been 57 today, an unpleasant reminder that cancer is an unfair beast. I miss him every day. Yesterday was my nephew/godson Nick's birthday. He and I were always close when he was a little guy and he's grown into a good man/husband/father. Celebrating birthdays of loved ones lightens up the angst of COVID-19 and all the fun political crap that is going on. 
One of the better memories I have of Rob was the "Landwehr Hunt" that takes place every year over this weekend. The one year I was able to attend was pretty cool because all 4 of us brothers were there for it. It was held in Fergus Falls every year and usually involved everything but hunting. Cards, smart talk and adult beverages were the substitute for any actual gunfire, though the ye…

Third Time's a Charm

Over the weekend I got news that my manuscript, Cretin Boy, was accepted for publication by Burning Bulb Pulishing. If you're on Facebook, you already know this, but for those not, well, now you know.This will be my third published memoir since I began this whole writing thing 10 years ago. Getting a book published is an amazing feeling and it never grows old. I am so excited by the prospect of this book about my high school experience becoming real! Like my other books, it's been in the works for years, in this case, about 3 years. When you put that much work into something, there is nothing better than to see it validated by a willing publisher.And as weird as it may sound, I have always thought that until I have 3 full length books, I'm still not legit. I know that is warped, untrue and self-defeating, but it's a number I had in my mind. I also have 5 poetry books, but I always look at those as a bonus to my success as a nonfiction writer. It's these 220+ page b…

Ongoing Pursuit Of Happiness

I've had a run of successes lately with my poetry and nonfiction publications. I take them for what they are - a writer mucking about trying to make his mark on the world - even if only at a micro scale. It is absolutely the best part of my creative life at the moment, as I suck at art and can't carry a tune or play an instrument. My writing is my favorite getaway after a day of dealing with technical issues at my day job. It is a perfect compliment actually.On top of the hardcopy and online publications, I have been doing some virtual Zoom readings here and there as well. Last week I read my second place winning poem, Wordnapped, from the Jade Ring Contest for the Wisconsin Writers Association. It was a nice recognition of the contest winners. This one provided a $100 award, so I always joke that sometimes poetry does pay. Ha!I've been noodling around with what I think is my next book. After kicking around some ideas, I realized that I have years of cabin stories to draw …

Firmly Grounded In Disappointment

I'm not supposed to be here, blogging as I am.No. Today Donna and I were slated to fly from Chicago to London where we would spend a few days, and then continue on to Scotland. Of course with 2020 being what it is, the trip didn't happen. We anguished over whether we should sit on the tickets in March when the COVID-19 bottom fell out, in hopes that things would get better. The option was to go for the refund voucher good for a year. We opted for the latter, thankfully, so are not out any money, just denied the guilty pleasure of a European vacation.I realize this is a first world problem. Few have the opportunity to travel abroad. People should have such problems, I guess. At the same time, I am grateful we got there in 2018 when we spent 10 days in London. The trip spoiled both of us by exposing us to how much is really out there to be discovered. So much beauty and history and culture to be seen, learned and experienced.It's also incredibly ironic that on the day we we…

Muting The Sun

These past six months have been like groundhog's day around here, and I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that. The work from home order has been lifted to an extent - I am working from home 3 days a week, and in the office 2 days. I am a person of numerous fixed habits and with the ability to go anywhere freely, the habits are all one has, really. So I am evidently stuck at perfecting them because, well, there's nothing else to do around here. Fortunately the pandemic came on the lead-end of summer when people could get outdoors and do socially distant outdoor activities. It has saved me. My bike, my walks and my kayak have kept me out of the mentally unstable ward at the local hospital. You throw a highly charged political race, unprecedented runaway wildfires, a hundred protests and riots and, well the outdoors is all a person has some days. The problem with all of it is...winter is coming. Sure you can go outside, but it's not the same. I'm going into it with …