It is what it is. I read it on a cubicle wall. It’s a country-craft sign with large, cursive script, a script to make one curse. Words to echo the Curse. The sign lies, seems to be from an old farm. But it’s from a factory in China pumping out Affordable Americana. The fake-aged paint is smooth, has no earned decay. It is intentionally distressed and so am I. But, I suppose, it is … [Read more...] about It Is What It Is, But It Is Not What It Shall Be
Make believe makes believers. Imagination. A silly, harmless habit of immature kids? I don’t think so. Imagination is seeing what is not obvious. It is seeing what lies beyond the mere visually present. But what if there’s more? More than, “It is what it is?” More than the middle part of the story we’re seeing right now. What if the secular fundamentalist scolds are wrong? What if the stories … [Read more...] about Imagination isn’t a Diversion, it’s the Way
I got another email. Another letter. Another Facebook message. I heard it from another beautiful family who waited in line to get their books signed. I hear it all the time. "We are a military family. We love your stories because..." I'm from a military family. My dad (right) is a combat veteran, as was my grandfather (below). My mom (right) waited at home, pregnant with my oldest brother, while … [Read more...] about Why Does The Green Ember Series Resonate So Strongly With Military Families?
All an author asks for is a chance. A chance, and the worshipful adulation of millions and the affirmation of our stubborn fathers and skyrocketing sales and awards and parades and magnificent statues looming before grand institutions named in our honor. We are a modest bunch. When I wrote The Green Ember, I genuinely just wanted a chance. I wanted a try-out, to use sports terminology … [Read more...] about You Held My Heart In Your Hands
I wrote the below a few years ago, sharing it at Story Warren and The Rabbit Room. It seems like a good time to share it here. I had an email from a friend this morning who saw something in my life and felt called to point it out to me. It was about how Gina and I parent our kids. I am not always good at receiving this kind of feedback. It’s embarrassing. It makes me feel weird to think people … [Read more...] about Advocate or Accuser?
Have you ever read a book that was inviting and endearing, but the words ran all the way to the edge of the book? Probably not. Stories without margins are nearly impossible to enjoy reading. It’s the same with life stories. Margin is not the wasted space on the page where more words could have gone if only we would knuckle-down and work harder. Margin is the place where the words we carefully … [Read more...] about Marginal Faith: You Probably Should Be Doing Less
Scholars agree that the Crane Technique, if done right, cannot be defended. Mr. Miyagi pointed this out in the Eighties and it’s since been tested by roughly every single one of the humans who were boys in that era. I refer, of course, to that cinematic masterpiece, The Karate Kid. After I saw that movie, I ran around kicking air, punching boards, and, most importantly, trying out the Crane … [Read more...] about Think Small: Pick Only a Few Things. Do Those With All Your Heart.
Every nation, people, or culture has a story. It seems to me that in every one of those cultures there is a place of honor reserved for those whose work it is or has been to protect all the others. Such is certainly the case in the American story. From the founding our principal heroes have been warriors. This seems to be the case for most cultures which endure at all (for obvious reasons). In a … [Read more...] about Memorial Day Thanksgiving