The Work of Writing

I led my third Publishing 101 Boot Camp on Saturday, the second time it’s been offered during Lewiston Adult Education’s Super Saturday format. This six-hour time slot (which also included lunch for attendees) is the right amount of time to walk prospective publishers through the nuts and bolts of independent publishing. This followed closely on the heels of my fall writing class, Let’s Write That Book: 8 Weeks to Writing and Publishing Your First Book. Five of my writing students sat though Saturday’s workshop. Continue reading

Back from Collapse

It felt good to run this morning. Yes, it was cold and I didn’t wear gloves. The cold, crisp October air, rushing into my lungs reminded me again that the road back from my accident in August has been slower than I anticipated. That’s when I tumbled off my bike and all the training that commenced back in January got put on hold.

I didn’t think it would take nearly three months to get back to where I was before I cracked a rib and punctured my lung on August 5th. It’s been a slow, uphill climb, but I’m really close to being able to do everything that I had been doing prior to crashing my bike that Monday night after work. Continue reading

Goin’ Back

Sometimes I play a little game. Thinking back, I try to remember a time when things seemed simpler, less confusing. While it’s impossible to stop the march of time, and in many ways, I realize that life has taught me valuable lessons, I occasionally wonder whether history swings on pivotal moments and decisions.

It can be comforting thinking back to a prior time. Often, it’s when we were younger, now believing that things were better. There is certainly an element of nostalgia inherent in that process, but to merely chalk it up to slipping on rose-colored glasses is missing a larger point, I think. Continue reading

Five Years in a Row: Boston Book Festival 2013

In 2009, a cohort concerned that a city like Boston with its rich literary history and tradition no longer had a major book festival, got together and relaunched a major festival focused on the book, in Beantown. The Boston Book Festival became the city’s new, reconstituted festival celebrating books and the writers that write them. I’m glad they did.

Families develop and celebrate various traditions. Sports, art, railroading; for my son and I, attending Boston’s Book Fest in the fall is one of ours. 2013 was our fifth consecutive one, as we’ve been at every festival since the relaunch.

A plethora of writer/book panels to sample.

A plethora of writer/book panels to sample.

Continue reading

Get Funky

It’s been a long week; government shutdowns, training to begin my end-of-the-year moonlighting, projects being finalized—sometimes you just have to end the week with a little funk.

When my sister and I were coming up, we had this expression we’d break out on one another. We’d say, “funk is toe jam.”  We’d laugh. I don’t know where the hell this came from. I’m sure we heard some singer talking about it, or we read it in Rolling Stone, or some other social arbiter of the times. Continue reading

A Demagogue By Any Other Name

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing.

Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Since the government shutdown began, and the image of Ted Cruz began flashing across my television screen, I’ve been thinking about things that happened in my life 30 years ago. That’s when I learned a valuable lesson—one I kept trying to run away from. Those experiences taught me firsthand just how dangerous and delusional demagogues are.

It was thirty years ago that my young wife and I loaded up a U-Haul and journeyed 1,500 miles across the country to Northwest Indiana. She was pregnant with our son. I would enroll at Hyles-Anderson College, a fundamentalist, Baptist Bible college located in Crown Point. For two years, I attempted to correlate the inconsistencies I saw upon arrival, but kept tamping down, like a good little preacher boy. Continue reading

Success and the Stories We Tell

I want to change the world, one story at a time. That’s my story for today, and it’s been my story for awhile.

You might say, “that’s a little over the top, don’t you think?”

“Not really,” I reply.

I’ll be talking about stories and their power to transform when I deliver two breakout sessions this morning at the MACTE fall conference. My topic will be, “Success and the Stories We Tell.” Continue reading

Honey and Guns

Bees make honey.

Bees make honey.

I like honey. It’s sweet and comes from bees. I rely on beekeepers to gather my honey because if I did the collecting, I’d probably get stung.

I know Maine has a fairly large beekeeping community. You’ll see places as you travel across the state that have the hives and other telltale signs of beekeeping; like Brown’s Bee Farm, in North Yarmouth. Continue reading

Shutdown Math

Love him, or hate him, Tea-nutter, Ted Cruz.

Love him, or hate him, Tea-nutter, Ted Cruz.

I was never a great math student. Math is too exact for my brain, so take my numbers with a grain of salt.


Courtesy of the Congressional Research Service, this is the number of government shutdowns Americans have had to endure since 1977, when the first shutdown occurred. This one is #18. Mike Patton, at Forbes, provides a bit more narrative on the previous 17.


The longest prior shutdown was also the most recent: from Dec. 16, 1995, through Jan. 5, 1996. That’s 21 days for you counters out there. We are currently in day five.


This would be the number of national parks that have been forced to close their gates and deny visitors access. This includes Acadia National Park, in Bar Harbor. Continue reading

Memory Failure

What we remember and history are often two separate things. Memories are flawed, no matter how insistent we are that we remember exactly what happened.

Lots of things shape our memories; our pre-existing thoughts and beliefs apparently help certain memories “stick” better. Apparently, even our political orientation can contribute to the formation of false memories. Continue reading