Showing posts from December, 2014

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

Before I look ahead to 2015, I think it's always important to look back at last year and take stock on they year. In 2014, I posted a personal record of 125 times. What I'd like to do now is run down the top 10 posts from last year. These are based strictly on my own perception of them, so bear with me.

Here are the 2014 top ten posts with links to each.

Dancing Defined This post was spurred by my niece's wedding reception where I took to the dance floor like a maniac. Unfortunately, I probably looked like a maniac. But as I allude to in the post, dancing is all about letting it out and not worrying what others think. This is probably not a healthy outlook from a face-saving perspective, but I can't change who I am.A Story Written - A Life Rewritten A fellow eLectio Author spurred this post with his memoir on the struggles he had growing up in the housing projects in South Dakota. It resonated a bit with me because of our brief foray into the housing projects right befo…

The Timelessness of Christmas

Christmas was always loud and brash and full of laughter and joy at the house on Portland. This year like so many before it, Mom picked out the long needled Norway Pine and decorated it with ornaments old, new, gaudy and beautiful. She was careful to put the breakable ones up high, away from our cat. Tonto occasionally took to his lumberjack skills and climbed the trunk and gave a good shake, or, worse, toppled it altogether. To be sure, we tied it up with fishing line to give it a fighting chance against the cat's deft tree killing skills.

The relatives start arriving about 5:00. Along with my brother Paul, I am a student at the University of Minnesota. My brother Rob is home from Rochester, New York where he is attending NTID. Tom, Pat and Jane are all moved out and raising families of their own. They arrive with kids and spouses in tow for the annual Christmas gathering at mom's. Everyone is in high spirits, exhausted from all the preparation, yet finally ready to let down …

Getting Chiseled in Granite

I left off the last post with a promise to tell a bit more about the trip to Minnesota for the Granite City Book Club. As I have been alluding to all during this long, strange book tour/promotion, I still can't believe I am part of it all.

Now, before I get all puffy in the chest about my fan base, you have to understand that most of these venues are small affairs, with anywhere from 12-20 people. I'm not hiring security, there's no tour bus, groupies, and the only drugs involved are a couple of antacids on the bad days. I have no concealed carry for my own protection, and I never have a problem eating dinner out without getting interrupted for an autograph. It seems first-time small press, Midwestern authors are a few notches down from Clapton, Rush and Springsteen on the fame scale. In fact, they're off the scale altogether.

And I'm okay with that.

I am so happy to be doing what I'm doing, and hopefully it shows. The Granite City Book Club event was held at t…

Last Man Standing

So, the Central Minnesota leg of the 2014 Dirty Shirt book tour has been a fun one. An absolute whirlwind of activity these past few days, but all of it good. I'll run down the highlights.
On Monday, a couple of days before I left to come here, I got an email from a woman at the Stearns History Museum asking if I'd do an interview for KVSC 88.1 FM, a local radio station. Of course I said I would and later that night gave about a 30 minute interview. It was a lot of fun and if you haven't heard it, you can hear it HERE
I have a new appreciation for the job and duties of a DJ/Radio personality now that I've done a couple of interviews. These folks have to take an ordinary conversation and make it listenable, In this case, Jeff Carmack did a great job and put together about a 25 minute interview.
On Wednesday I drove up to St. Cloud with my mom a few hours before the Granite City Book Club event so we could meet up with my Uncle Tom. He is my dad's fraternal twin an…

Intersecting Lives

The trail of my book promotion has been long and winding these past 6 months. It has brought some long lost family back into my life, from second cousins I never knew I had to first cousins I haven't seen in years. But maybe even more interesting are the chance encounters I've had with a number of total strangers that have followed me or my book. Here's a few examples.

There is a guy who saw me at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books and sparked up a conversation. He had been to the BWCA as a teenager, but not since. He is also a Vietnam veteran and a writer who has his first book being looked at by a publisher in January. The book is titled The Last Man Out of Vietnam. It sounds like a great read and I can't wait to get a look at it. He said he read Dirty Shirt and really enjoyed it. He even came to my Pewaukee Library event to hear more of the back story and maybe to learn a little about book event promotion. I told him I'm no expert, but that it sure was a …

Unforgettable Birthdays

Well, today is my birthday. Today marks the start of my fifty fourth lap around the sun. (That means I'm 53, BTW).

While birthdays aren't the big deal they once were, they're still a day when you expect just a little extra coddling or TLC. Give a person one day a year to feel a little special. Make them a cake or get them a card, or just wish them a great day.

In trying to think back to birthdays that were especially significant or memorable I can come up with a few.

Of course there were the childhood birthdays where the whole family gathered around and you were the man of the hour, for just about an hour. The Betty Crocker boxed cakes with boxed frosting were the best! Mom, or sometimes, my sisters, would make the double-decker cake with frosting between the layers. If she'd had a long day, we would have to settle for the lower maintenance 9 X 13" pan cake. And you know what? That was fine with us. It all tasted good and with 6 kids, it never lasted more than a d…

Current Events

It has been a while so I thought I'd give a quick synopsis of all things writing related.

I will be presenting to the Friends of the Pewaukee Library on Thursday, December 11th (my birthday). I had such a good time at the New Berlin Library, that I am really looking forward to this. It will consist of some short readings, a slide show, followed by a book signing.On December 17th I will be travelling to St. Cloud Minnesota where I'll be leading a book discussion about Dirty Shirt at the Stearns County Museum. This group, the Granite City Book Club has taken the time to buy my books and read it, which is flattering. Also, this is my father's hometown, so this trip will be pretty meaningful all the way around. Dirty Shirt was featured in the University of Minnesota's Alumni "Bookmarks" section on their website. Check it out here.My book has been ordered by the Wisconsin Historical Society. This is pretty cool as it is already in the Minnesota Historical Society c…

Name Pending

The Thursday morning coffee group I meet with every week continues to be one of the highlights of my week, even though it is over in an hour or so. I'm still looking for a good name for this group. I've called it Thursday Theologians before, but we're all far from theologians. Most of us have a good understanding of the Bible, but with maybe the exception of one guy, I don't know if I'd classify any of us a theologian. Theological hacks, maybe. Maybe a name like, "guys seeking spiritual enlightenment through the use of caffeine, secular books and private study."

Nah, too long.
I kind of like Theological Hacks. It has a nice ring to it. 

That name is descriptive, yet evoking humility. After all, none of us are experts, but we're all seeking the deeper meaning of the Bible and how it applies in our broken, crazy contemporary world. We're hacking our way through it and it's a great adventure.
Anyhow, as I was saying, in the words of one of them, t…