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This Stuff Actually Happened Last Year

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OK, since everyone is legally required to do these things, I will comply.

In no particular order –and in no way does this constitute the kind of reflection one ought to engage in– in 2009:

1. I won’t share much of my family life, as is my general custom*, but my wife Gina and I welcomed our third child (somehow not named Ender) and second son into our home. He has been a lot of fun –chief among God’s gifts to us this year. He looks like his mother, but still maintains a masculine aspect.

2. I was privileged to be published in each issue of West Virginia South (The Fledge Chronicles serial) in 2009. This was a real blessing, and allowed me the chance to work with a great editor in Audrey Stanton-Smith. She has been a believer in this series from the start.

In those Fledge stories I was able to work with three neato artists/illustrators:

Rex Queems     Ted Williams (my childhood chum)     Zach Franzen (who’s illustration will appear in February’s issue –I’m stoked)

3. I signed a contract with a literary agency, Eames Literary. Surprisingly, they also signed it. I am hopeful that this will lead to good things. If nothing else, it affords me with many awkward and unavoidable opportunities to try to say “My agent…” in a sentence without sounding like a big, self-important jerk.

4. I was pleased to be a finalist for the West Virginia Fiction Award, in which competition I was defeated soundly in the final round.

5. I won my fantasy football championship for the second time ever. Most of this was done without watching more than five minutes here and there of any games. You can be impressed.

6. I had a poem, called “The In-Between,” published in a regional arts journal called Holler. The poem references the “scattered bodies, once-homes, for souls of nicotine” and also some Frenchie named Napoleon. There is nothing about fantasy football in the poem.

7. I was happy to have a hand in bringing Eric Peters, one of my favorite singer/songwriters, into our area of the country for a concert (w/ LeeAnn Sharp). He is swell. It was a great time. He, unlike most of his cronies, actually is a man and loves football.

8. I copied and pasted a lot of quotes and called it “blogging.” I did this because 1) I liked them and thought you might as well, 2) They saved me (and you) from my drivel.

9. Andrew Peterson wrote a blurb for me which I couldn’t use because in it he said he’d never met me, but in fact he has (twice) and didn’t remember (shocking? No) and it would be weird if people read that and then found it was a lie…a LIE! <—Nacho L. reference in honor of my brother, Will Smith. <—-Not a lie.

10. I went further bald. <—- Excellent writing.

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This picture proves that a) I am actually two-faced, or b) I move around a lot when teaching the kids.

11. I was defeated by my brother, Josiah, at our Independence Day Cricket Extravaganza. I was bowled clean not a few times.

12. I read some good books, including these which come to mind at the moment (I should probably actually write down the books I read):

Auralia’s Colors

Cyndere’s Midnight

Raven’s Ladder

North, Or Be Eaten

Fitzpatrick’s War

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

A House for My Name

The Narnian

Jack: The Life of C.S. Lewis

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

A Primer on Worship and Reformation

Is Christianity Good for the World

ESV Study Bible

Patrick O’Brian (Desolation Island, and another one, or two)

PG Wodehouse (a few of his –I can’t remember the names)

A Bunch o’ Sherlock Holmes (reread)

Ender in Exile

Cry, the Beloved Country

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union

The Wilderking Trilogy


Florence of Arabia

When Helping Hurts

The Meaning of the Pentateuch

Jaybor Crow

Lord Dunsaney’s Collection

An Intro to Biblical Theology

Most of them were good.  

13. My Bible reading was focused mainly in Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, James, Ephesians, and my favorite, Ecclesiastes.

OK, so those things happened, and some other things. Now you know.

* Note on item #1 (above). The reasons I don’t are many, but it includes the fact that that stuff is usually not as interesting to others as it seems to the person sharing. We have a private blog for that stuff and we just share it with our family/very close friends. But please know that family is central in my life, it really defines who I am in most ways. This kind of demonstrates how limited blogs usually are (and certainly are in my case) for getting to know the person behind them. Blogs, as we all know, are about copying and pasting smart-sounding quotes.


  1. A couple of things…

    Wow, you read some great books this year. How’d you like Jayber Crow, Godric, and Cry, The Beloved Country all in one year? That’s a lot of awesome to pack into a single twelve-month period. Those three are on my list of all time favorite books.

    You named your son Ender? That might be the most awesome thing ever.

    Also, let’s be sure to talk RR Press stuff before you let that agent lead you off by the nose.

  2. Those were all grand books. “Cry…” was especially moving to me (as a lover of South Africa, and Zulus in particular).

    I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. I did NOT name my son Ender, but that would have been cool. But my brother (Will Smith) named his third son Andrew, not without a nod that way.

    I would be glad to chat with you at your leisure. Plus, can’t wait to read The Fiddler’s Gun.

    I do read quite slow. Many of those books were read to me via compact discs, as I drive a lot for work. Audio Fiddler?

  3. “Further Bald” was the name of my environmental-activist acoustic folk trio in the late 60’s. We split up after the eagle’s nest incident of 1971.

    Congrats on your 2009. May your 2010 be as wonderful.

  4. Classic sound, Further Bald. I can’t believe you guys broke up. I thought Sean Penn was great on Autoharp.

    The breakthrough record “Still Long in the Back” was a record that really broke through.

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