The last time I saw Boyd, he looked tired. Not sleepy or sleep-deprived, but the kind of tired that leaves you feeling hollow and broken. It was after a show in Columbus, Ohio, where his project – Crystal Garden – had played a show and he wandered around the audience giving hugs and accepting pats on the back. When he got to me, he looked different and didn’t seem to recognize me.

I’d grown a little beard and it was late, but over the previous five years, we’d spent hours and hours talking – on his bus, his front porch, back stage and on Facetime – about his life and his passion for the forces that have guided it. (more…)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and share that I loved ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’ I thought it was fun and engaging, funny and more than a bit swashbuckling. I know there are plenty of people out there who disagree with me, which is fine, but there’s one theme in the film I wanted to write about today: hope.

Bucking the trend of the second-film in a trilogy being the bummer (‘Empire Strikes Back’ didn’t exactly finish on a high note), The Last Jedi ends on a very hopeful tone. The now-infamous “broom kid” looks to the stars and Rian Johnson leaves viewers hopeful for the rebellion. It’s a nice ending, a nice sentiment.

After a year that left a lot of people worn down – either because of their politics or the fact that Mother Nature seems bound and determined to destroy our civilization – hope seems to be trading on the demand side of the supply/demand curve. (more…)

“Write drunk, edit sober.”

Hemingway didn’t say it, though this quote is often attributed to him. And, to be sure, it’s bad advice. Have you ever tried to write while drunk? I have and, I’ll tell you, the output was no bueno. It was a jumbled mess of half-thoughts and homonyms which no amount of editing could salvage.

But, like many quotes real or fake, there is a lot of truth in this brief, four-word sentiment. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with intoxication. It’s about the merits of uninhibited creativity. Writing drunk, to me, means letting your mind wander, letting your thoughts be your thoughts and getting them out without judging them. Writing drunk means writing freely and not worrying about getting anything right.  (more…)

I was having a conversation about the future with my mom recently. We talked about my work, my family, all the possibility that lies ahead and all the work I’ve done and will do to get us there. She’s always been supportive, but she knows the road has not always been easy for me and my family. She’s also not one to offer a lot of wisdom or advice. She’s more likely to simply say that she believes in me and hopes for the best.

That’s probably why it was profound when she interrupted me and said something I can’t get out of my head.  (more…)

Life can be crazy in our house. With four children of ages from newborn to teenager, a busy professional life and a bustling social calendar, it can seem like I am constantly going from place to place, dropping off, picking up, checking off boxes on a seemingly never-ending list of to-dos.

If you have a family, chances are pretty good that you know the feeling. Everything begins to swirl together to the point where days fade from pre-dawn alarm clocks to falling into bed without much having been accomplished and, yet, a million things being done. Modern life is a constant uphill struggle to keep up and trying to keep your head above water, deliver on commitments and get through the days leaves precious little time to reflect or look forward. (more…)

New Year’s day is the day everyone decides they want to change. We want to lose weight, get a different job, save more money, finally take that vacation we’ve always dreamed of and about a thousand other things. It makes sense. New year, new you. We call them resolutions, but walk into any fitness center come March and you’ll see just how un-resolute real life can be. Packed to the ceiling the first week of January, a couple months later, everything has gone back to normal and you don’t have to wait for the machines.

I’ve done it. Everyone I know has done it. Very few people I know have bucked the trend and actually seen things through. (more…)

I remember my first story. I was about 11 years-old and sitting at an electric typewriter in my parents’ basement. I had recently fallen in love with tennis and Jennifer Capriati was the wunderkind of the women’s tour. I was inspired. I wrote three pages, single-spaced; a story about a boy about my age who, against all odds, had made it to Centre Court at Wimbledon. I wrote line after line about the experience, the sun, the predominately white attire, the smell of hot dogs in the stands — admittedly, I knew nothing about English cuisine or custom at the time.

My hands got tired by the third page and the boy hadn’t even struck a single ball. I gave up, read over what I had and… threw it in the trash.

I’ve spent most of my life being a non-fiction writer – journalist, travel writer, essayist, business writer, profile writer, blogger. But there’s always been a part of me that wanted to be a novelist.

Today, I feel like I have achieved that dream.

I released a small Kindle novel for middle readers last summer-  The Red-Eyed Monster Bass – and loved every second of the experience. But it was an e-book and my first. I thought it might be a one-off.

But, today, I have released my second novel for young readers – The Backpack – in both Kindle and paperback format. Maybe it’s because it will be printed if you order it; maybe it’s because the second book proves that the first wasn’t a fluke; maybe it’s the fact that I have three more done and in varying states of preparedness for release, but for some reason, today it all feels official.

I am a novelist.

I write for middle readers because I love middle reader stories. I love that anything is possible, that the world can still be a fascinating a mysterious place. I write for this age because I have children this age. I write for this age because of that 11 year-old boy who had an instinct to sit down and tell himself a story.

This is a process, a new venture for me and surely I have and will continue to make mistakes. But today I feel a kind of accomplishment I haven’t felt in a long time – a humbling sense that only makes me want to do more of it.

I want to thank my children and my wife for helping me along the way; my niece and nephews for inspiring the characters; the amazingly talented Katie Reeder for a cover that I truly love and anyone who reads this blog for dealing with my hemming and hawing, my stumbles and struggles.

Of course I’d love it if you bought the book or The Red-Eyed Monster Bass (which I’ve also released in paperback as of this morning), but more than anything I just wanted to say how strange and good it feels to do something like this. It’s as if a long ignored itch has begun to be scratched and I can’t wait to keep going.

There are more stories to tell and I look forward to the hand cramps, the frustration and the dreaming that goes into telling them. The_Backpack_Cover2.jpg