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Showing posts from May, 2018

Coffee With Friends

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Yesterday I continued with my The Portland House: A '70s Memoirpromotion. This time it was at Mama D's, an intimate local coffee shop in Wales, Wisconsin. Mama D's reached out after a friend tipped them off that I had a new book out and that I was also poet laureate for the Village.

It was a warm day and by the time I started to read, the place was pretty much full. I was so happy with the turnout. One never knows how many people will take the time to drive there, especially on this - a holiday weekend.

There were several friend groups there. Some of my poet colleagues came and brought friends, some folks from my church, Collective MKE, and even a couple of brand new friends who have been itching to get my books.

While I usually get pretty nervous at these things, I had a sense of calm and confidence about this reading. I don't know if it was because it was largely friends there or whether I'm just getting better at this. (Or maybe my writers little helper pill is …

The Spectrum Of Adventure

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A friend of mine is hiking the Pacific Coast Trail for the next few months. Yes, his plan is to hike the WHOLE thing, all 2600 miles of it. He is doing it to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Research. He's calling it the Hike for a Cure and he has a Go Fund Me page if you're interested in donating.

But that's not the reason I'm writing. It is to say how much I admire him for following his heart. He essentially put his life on standby to do something he'd have regrets about later in life if he didn't follow through.

And it is pure, 100% adventure.

I am sort of living vicariously through his Video Log (vlog) and his periodic Facebook posts. I've even kicked around the idea of flying out and hiking a section with him for support.

As I've mentioned before, I am working my way through Paddle For A Purpose, a book by Barb Geiger, an author friend of mine. She and her husband committed to paddling the length of the Mississippi River. THAT, my friends, is advent…

Writers Talking Writing

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Yesterday I spent my afternoon as part of a panel of authors for an AllWriters symposium on how to get published. The panel was comprised of a dozen or so authors, all of whom had been published with traditional small presses. Many of them had multiple books and a few even had multiple books in multiple genres.

The group fielded questions the audience had written and submitted prior to the panel. I was flattered to be a part of it but it also felt a little surreal to me. I still consider myself new to the whole writing thing and like most writers suffer from the self-doubt/self-loathing bug, so facing the music that I might be able to help others still seems like a stretch.

But me and the rest of the panelists did alright. Some of the questions were pointed to specific people based on what they'd published and others were just opened up to the whole panel.

During the question and answer period I found it interesting that my inner extrovert comes out of his shell when I start talki…

Chapters In A Book Called Life

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Last weekend was a whirlwind. As I mentioned in my last post, my daughter graduated from the University of Minnesota on Sunday. It was a highly emotional day for me, having been a student at the U back in the days before the internet and cell phones. While the past memories and present moments of great, enormous pride swirled around my head throughout the ceremony, it was what happened afterward that was the weirdest thing.

We went out to an early dinner at Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis. It was a nice wind-down from the chaos and running of the previous two days. From there we dropped Sarah off at her apartment. It was unlike any goodbye I've ever said to a child of mine.

You see, her plan is to stay up in the Twin Cities. Her boyfriend is moving out there from California and they plan to make a life together in Minnesota. This meant I didn't need to move her home. But it also meant, she was changing my life as a parent forever. She would no longer be living in my house fo…

It Takes A Village

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This weekend we spent with family and friends celebrating our daughter's graduation from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.
As part of that celebration, yesterday we all gathered at a local microbrewery in Hudson, Wisconsin. We caravaned up to the cities with our good friends from Milwaukee who have been like an Uncle and Aunt to both of our kids. 
And I can't really put into words how nice it was to look around the crowded open space of Hop and Barrel last night and see everyone so happy. People were making the rounds, talking to different groups of cousins, aunts uncles and of course the grandmother, Nanny. The energy in the room was electric with love and no one really wanted it to end. 
Then, today we went to Mariucci Hockey Arena to watch Sarah walk the stage and enter a new chapter in her life. The keynote speakers, Senator Amy Klobuchar and David Gerbitz, one of the top executives at Pandora music streaming, gave exceptional speeches about the c…

An Only One Bestseller

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When my daughter was born, I started a journal.* Knowing I loved to write, I was in charge of keeping track of life's little moments of her life that touched me. The journal starts literally within the week she was born. In the early years, my entries were frequent, sometimes many to a page. As she grew older they grew more lengthy and were usually a page in length.

It was my intent that when she turned 18 I would give her the book. Well, at that time, it just didn't feel right. So, I moved the date out to "when she graduates from college."

Well, that date comes this weekend.

The book is full of great moments including:


Her first week with us when she was fussing in her bassinet, which she hated.A day out in the back yard when she 3 or 4 and was swinging on the swing, singing away - something she never did. But that day she did. It was magical.The day I took her to Eble Park skating as a 5 year old and for some reason it touched me enough that I had to write about it.…

Write From The Start

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It seems like my writing life is busier than ever lately. It is all good, but I thought I would run down what is going on in part to help those who want to know and in part to help me keep it straight. Ha!

The Portland House continues to get good reviews. I love talking to people about it as many of them can relate to the big family thing. It is up to 12 reviews on Amazon, but I am always looking for more, so if you liked it, please let the world know.Work continues on the next book about my high school experience in an all-male, Catholic, military high school in the late '70s. Again, lots of funny stories some of which make me shudder as a parent, but hey, it was a long time ago.Yesterday I sent a book to WCCO radio in Minneapolis in hopes of getting an interview or maybe a plug. A friend of my mom liked the book so much that she sent a text to John Hines one of the radio hosts telling him about it. Figuring that was my lead, I sent him an inquiry. He made no promises, but told me…

Artistic Moments

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I've been thinking a lot about artistic expression lately. Not personally, although my writing is certainly an extension of my own expression, but more along the lines of seeing it in others and recognizing it for the beauty it is.

This past weekend for example I went to the Jazz Estate in Milwaukee to see a band named Devil Met Contention. They were preceded by a band named Pay the Devil. (I see a theme here.)

Both bands were really good. The folk band that played first took turns with solos from the mandolin to the guy playing the washboard to the guitarist. I love watching live music. But what occurred to me was how everyone in the audience was enjoying themselves in THAT moment. As anywhere a  few clueless folks were obsessed with their phone, but for the most part, people were giving their full attention to the music of the moment. That is what musical art is; notes played into space in this case only to fade out. Its a temporary state of joy.

The same goes for visual art. If …