Birthday blog-34

[Note: I spent much of the weekend thinking and writing about the bond Mark and I shared around writing. We certainly bonded around sports and simply from spending time together when he was in his formative stage. But that doesn’t always guarantee a closeness later in life.

The driver who hit and killed Mark robbed his parents of many things. She robbed me of my only son, and a relationship I’ll never replace. She also took the brightest of personalities, one with passion (and compassion) from a world sorely in need of people like him.

As difficult as 2017 has been, one of the things that keep us going is knowing that Mark had a passion for Earth, other people (and bringing them together), and of course, writing. We founded the Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund earlier this year. We’re happy to announce that we are now a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We also have a brand new website that just went live. Check it out. Also, today would be a great day to remember Mark by making a contribution to the fund. It’s now tax-deductible and a great end-of-year gift to give for a cause that will support causes and organizations that cultivate traits that were part of Mark’s philosophy of life—love, kindness, and working towards building a better and more equitable world for all people.-jb]


Birthday Blog, Thirty-four (34)



Developing any craft requires diligence, attention to it, and maybe more than anything else—a dogged determination in cultivating it—regardless of how many people flock to your doorstep. I think this an apt application for both writing and music, too.

I’m not a musician, but I’ve had a passion for various kinds of rock-rooted musicology dating back nearly 50 years. I know a thing or two about it, and what I don’t know experientially, I’ve gleaned from a longstanding tradition of reading what once was known as “rock journalism.” While no longer as prevalent as it once was given the demise of print, there are still outlets where this genre of writing resides.

Since we’re on the topic of writing, I think I can weigh-in on this with definite ink stains on my hands, or perhaps better, a worn keyboard on my laptop. It was 2001—I had read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Afterwards, I decided not to be some occasional dabbler. I set a goal—I wanted to get published. Following King’s prescription, I got up early before work and wrote something every day. After a year of doing this, I got an essay published in Casco Bay Weekly just like King said would happen. I’d really become a writer. Continue reading

Turning 31

Mark is 31-years-old today. It’s sounds clichéd to say it, but it feels like only “yesterday” that I was driving Mary to the hospital like countless other nervous fathers-to-be before. We were living in Indiana at the time, 1,500 miles from family and familiar surroundings. To a then 21-year-old dad-in-waiting, this was terrifying. It was also one of my high-water life experiences

Young Jim and Mark

Mark at 18 months (I think).

I enjoyed being his dad. I still do. Continue reading

Time Marches On

One year ago, to the weekend, I was feted as the “author in residence” at Kennebec Fruit Company in Lisbon Falls. Members of Moxie Nation know it simply as “The Moxie Store.” That book signing for Moxie: Maine In A Bottle, took place on May 5, 2012; it doesn’t seem like it was one year ago, but it was.

Yesterday, my sister and I pulled off a surprise 80th birthday party for our father, Herman the German. The location was another Lisbon Falls landmark, The Slovak Social Club, on Avery Street.

My sister and I with our parents, Helen and Herman.

My sister and I with our parents, Helen and Herman.

There’s a saying that “time waits for no man,” and it doesn’t play gender favorites, either. The seconds, minutes, and hours of life continue ticking away and then, the clock ticks no more. Continue reading

Health Matters

There’s this debate about whether or not health care is a fundamental right for Americans. The divide, like with most issues, seems to come down to ideology.

I was reminded again this weekend that this issue has been debated for the entirety of my lifetime, and another 30 years prior to my birth. It’s affected me personally and our family, especially relative to the birth of our son and now, seeing him transition into adulthood. Continue reading