I’m tickled to pieces that I currently have two books in print. My most recent, pretty much hot off the press, is Boyhood Daze and Other Stories: Growing Up Happy During the Great Depression. Clearly, it’s not about me. A combination biography-memoir, this is the true story of my dad’s childhood and (very) young adult years. It’s based on stories he told and wrote, interviews with his siblings and my cousins, and a lot of historical research about the time and place where he grew up–rural Johnston County, NC, just east of Raleigh.
What really sets Daddy’s story apart is the time he spent living in the poorhouse. (I’ll say no more about that–it would take too much fun out of reading the story yourself.) What makes his story universal is that the pretty much everyone who lived through that period had similar experiences. If your parents or grandparents grew up during the Great Depression or during World War II, you’ve probably heard a few stories yourself. If you have, some of these stories will have a familiar ring. If you haven’t, this book may give you a lens through which to learn something more about what life was like for them. It was, to say the least, an interesting time in our history.
As the title suggests, Boyhood Daze is mostly a lighthearted story that will make you chuckle. It also contains a few life lessons. And like any honest true-life story, there are some hard times: times of sadness, pain, grief. (But not too much.)
I had a lot of fun writing this book. People who’ve read it have told me they had fun, too. That makes me happy. And it would have made Daddy happy. His clown persona, Joco, had a slogan: Keep on the funny side of life. Daddy was always looking for ways to make people laugh. With him or at him–didn’t matter, as long as they laughed. Maybe this book will make you laugh, as well.
(In case you wondered, that’s Daddy on the cover riding one of his favorite mules. Yep, she’s in the book, too.)
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My first book, Living on the Diagonal: Mountain Musings, is a small volume of poetry and photography. Title sound familiar? Actually, credit for the title of both book and blog goes to my cousin Becka. She lives in the land of prairies. Our mountains must have made an impression when she visited a couple of years ago, for she dubbed our lifestyle with the words (you guessed it): living on the diagonal. I grabbed them with gusto.
Like this blog, the poems in Living on the Diagonal are sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes lighthearted. Many of them explore my relationship to nature, to family, and to my writing. You can find a tiny sample here. More to come at some point in the future.
Both books can be purchased on Amazon.com. If you’re local, I also have copies of Boyhood Days available for purchase, at a discount.