Showing posts from March, 2014

Character Peek: Episode I - Pat

With the release of Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir a mere 79 days away, I thought I'd give some sneak peeks at some of the characters in the book. I won't go into much situational detail as far as what is in the book, I'll leave that for you to read when it comes out, but rather I'll try to outline the role they played in my life and how it relates to them helping shape the book. Because the story starts out with a section on friends, I'll talk a little bit about a friend of mine named Pat. Growing up, Pat was probably my best friend. Oh I had other very close friends, but Pat and I were just a bit tighter. He has a wicked sense of humor and I always gravitated to him for that reason. We were also both over 6'4", skinny and never good enough at sports to be a starter or on the varsity. We had similar musical tastes - at the time it was Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Cars, and of course our mutual favorite George Thorogood. W

Social Mania

We were joking in writing class last night about how Facebook posts seemed to have dropped off lately. I even went as far as to jokingly say "Facebook is no fun anymore." Most people laughed because they all know it's not true. Facebook, while not for everyone, is alive and well. I think that there are slow, low post periods and heavy posting spells as well. Furthermore, I don't think Facebook is doing itself any favors by changing their interface every 6 months, to say nothing of the constant fiddling with security settings. I suspect it will only be a matter of time before we're typing into a small little box and 3/4 of the screen is ads. In my dealings with Facebook, Twitter and my blog over the past few days, I came to realize the breadth of different people I've met because of social media in one form or another. Blog Perhaps the most recent contact was with a friend from across the street when I was in high school. This guy had seen my brother on T

A View From The Passenger Seat

My fifteen year-old son starts his Drivers Training this week. He has to take three weeks of classes at two hours a class. Then he needs 20 hours of behind the wheel (10 BTW and 10 observing). This is both an exciting and frightening time for me. While I am excited that he will soon be able to drive himself to see his friends and to various social events, I have to confess I'm a bit terrified at having to train him. I guess I did it with Sarah, so I can do it for him, but that doesn't make me want to. I'll never forget the first time I took Sarah out driving in the abandoned WalMart parking lot. We pretty much went in circles for a half an hour and things were fairly calm. There was that one moment however when I told her to turn left and she took that to mean "turn kinda lazily to the left...whenever you want, no big hurry..." To further endanger the two of us, she hadn't really dropped her speed during the non-turn, the lackadaisical turn, the roundabout

The Smell Of Fear

My first accepted fiction piece is finally online. Phantom Camp is a story about a Zombie Sasquatch which just about says it all right there. The whole tale of the tale is weird, how it came about, why I chose to write about it, what inspired it, etc. I've talked about it before, but what inspired it was my son reading the Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead  while we were camping in the BWCA in 2012. I asked my nephew what he thought about a Zombie Sasquatch story. He thought it was a great idea, and I figured with zombies being all the rage, that it was a safe bet. So, when I got home I wrote it. This was a stretch for me for a couple of reasons. First of all, fiction isn't my first love. I write nonfiction. Secondly, I don't write horror. About all I had going for me was a love for camping and the BWCA. But I wrote it, nonetheless. It was fun, but I have to confess, I actually creeped myself out a few times while writing it. I do

My Whack At The Blog Hop

Author Jim Landwehr This is the continuation of my blog hop set up by Author Mindy Mymudes and her friend  Author Lynda Cox  . In the hop, each Author is to answer four questions and pass the blog on to three or four author friends. These friends then answer the same four questions a week later, thereby sending the blog on an infinite loop, or so it goes . Below are my answers the interview questions. What am I working on?   Actually, a number of things. From a marketing standpoint, I am working on getting the word out about my forthcoming book, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir ,  due to be released by eLectio Publishing on June 17 th , 2014. Marketing and publicity is a lot of work, but I consider myself lucky to be finally doing the legwork of book promotion. It is a good problem to have! My major writing focus at the moment is getting much of my poetry critiqued, cleaned up and edited. I intend to launch a collection of poetry on the heels of Dirty Shirt and wan

Reality Check

It is becoming stunningly clear to me that we are about to throw our first bird out of the nest in the next six months. I can't like this. I don't have to like this. She's not supposed to be old enough to make her own decisions. I need her to be dependent on us for a few more years, is that so wrong? I have a couple of younger friends with multiple kids under the age of five in their house. They don't complain too much, because they love their kids. At the same time, I know exactly what they're going through. Part of me misses it. The little bodies, the goofy personalities, the bedtime stories - OMG I miss the bedtime stories - the trips to the park, dinnertime messy faces, swimming with them, and having them pass out on my shoulder. I miss that part. We are in for an adjustment and, as I see it, it will take six months to prepare for that. Even though she is working or at school or hanging with her friends much more than she is around the house, I will miss ha

Coming To Terms

I am not a poet.  I've beat this saying to death. I've joked about it and denied three times my loyalties to Ginsberg, Keats, and Brautigan. People occasionally refer to me as a poet and it always catches me off guard, like they're saying I have a goiter or saying I don't look like I'm 52 (I do). It took me long enough to convince myself I was a writer, and even longer to call myself one. I think I have label issues. It has something to do with my perception of masculinity, which I realize is totally stupid. Totally. But that's what some of the hangup is. I had a great discussion with a friend and his wife over dinner a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that some primitive cultures believe there are actually 5 genders: Masculine, Masculine-Feminine, Neutral, Feminine, and Feminine Masculine. Masculine Feminine included men who had feminine qualities about them like compassion, social needs/skills that are more like women than men, artistic types and the

From Formula To Five Guys

I went to the Wisconsin Sportsshow with Ben this past weekend. It's kind of become a new tradition with us. He liked it so much last year that I made it a point to get tickets in advance of it this year. It's held at State Fair Park and is the heaven of all things outdoors. Before the sportshow, we went out for burgers at 5 Guys  in Brookfield. Ben has been on a quest for finding the ultimate burger and got a gift card from his cousin for Christmas. While we ate we talked about the muzak that was on in the restaurant. It was Nirvana and we joked about how you can never tell what Kurt Cobain is saying and while all the Nirvana songs are good, many of them sound the same, just different grunge lyrics. While we were eating and talking, it struck me as really nice being able to relate to him as more of an adult than a kid at this point. In past years, going for burgers with him usually meant, a burger for me, those godawful chicken nuggets for him and the overriding subject w

Calling My Bluff

Throwback Thursdays seem to be all the rage lately, so I thought I'd devote a post to it. Pick a photo that means something, one that is over 20 years old and speak to it. So here goes. This picture was taken on the bluffs of the Mississippi river in about 1989. My nephew Nick took it while the three of us were perched on a cliff near a man made cave. If you're familiar with the Mississippi River near St. Paul, this was taken in Hidden Falls Park on River Blvd. It is a beautiful shot for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the weathered sandstone formations in the background. I used to love exploring these sandstone cave formations with my brothers back in the 70's. We packed a lunch, hopped on our bikes and rode the three miles down Summit Avenue to "the river" for some carp fishing, cliff climbing and adventure. Fueled by PB&J and a quart of grape Kool Aid in our red Kool Aid canteen, we made a day of the trip, packing all of our gear in our

The Right To Write

Occasionally I get questions like, "Where do you write? or "What is your process like?" These are good questions from people curious what sorts of disciplines separate someone who likes to write from someone who doesn't. There is certainly no universal answer for all writers. Some choose to write every day with religious fervor, whether they feel inspired or not. Other choose to write at certain hours of the day, in certain rooms. Still others need music or coffee shop noise to get their writing done. In addition to place, there is the writing medium to consider as well. There are some old-school writers who believe that the only way to harness their best work is by using pen and paper and good old cursive handwriting. One writer I know does her first draft work strictly on pen and paper. Her reasoning is that when she goes to transcribe the work using a computer, she actually does her first edit at that time. While it seems like a lot of work to write something